"Catch your children at good behaviours." "Reward positive behaviour." "Focus on the good, not on negative or bad behaviour." "Dangle the carrot, spare the rod." "Reward rather than punish." I was reading a parenting book which kept stressing the importance of looking out for good behaviour rather than pointing out bad behaviour.
So I took out my reward chart and started using them again. The kids love the reward chart. We have a rather complicated system but that makes it all the more fun, mysterious and exciting for them.
Each day they are falling over themselves to do good. It can be anything. Finishing their food INCLUDING their vegetables all by themselves, cleaning up after themselves, keeping toys, doing their homework without supervision, practising the piano without being reminded, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed, being nice to each other, taking their medicine without fuss. There are many ways to get reward stickers.
Each day they can collect as many stickers as they can to stick on the chart. At the end of the week we tabulate the stickers. Every 5 stickers get 1 stamp, 7 stickers receive 2 stamps. At the end of the month we count the stamps. Every 10 stamps get a lucky draw. We have a special lucky draw mini drawer for this purpose.
The kids love opening up the drawer to received small surprises, usually in the form of cute stationaries (that I would get them anyway...), sometimes a lollipop, or stickers or keychains, or even a dollar or two. The gifts are small and don't cost very much but it is the element of surprise that they love.
So they have been falling over themselves to be good each day. They even fold their clothes neatly after changing, help me make the bed, wipe and close the piano neatly after practising and bring their plates to the kitchen and help serve dessert and offer to give mummy and daddy massages.
And the best part is, they do all this without being told, nagged or shouted at. :)