This is the Reward Jar. Or the Bribe Jar. Or the Mom Needs a Little More Help Around Here and is Willing to Pay a Heavy Price for it Jar. Whatev. I’m over it.
But the results? Heavenly! For at least 2 weeks, until the shine wears off or the rewards run out. Two weeks of bliss! I bet that wasn’t where you thought this post was going. Am I right?
Anyway. Here’s how it works. Inside this jar, there are over 100 slips of paper, folded exactly the same and taped shut. These steps are necessary to prevent cheating. Because every single one of my kids will cheat given any opportunity. Some things you just have to come to terms with.
On each paper is a reward (or bribe or last ditch effort to save my soul- whatever you want to call them). Most of them are small rewards such as a pack of gum, a quarter, a handful of Legos (and the giant box of random Lego parts in my closet is an entirely different post), Dad’s help with chores, a can of soda. Some of them are big. There are things like lunch with a parent, a movie with a friend, five dollars, and the grand prize, a trip to Disneyland. Every time they do something I wish to reward them for, they pick from the jar. And the really beautiful thing is that the rewards are random. They are still required to do their chores and their school work and go to bed just like last week. No expectations have changed, but if I feel like they have done something noticeable, something I want to see again, I quickly say, “Thank you for. . .please go get a reward from the jar.”
We started this just a few days ago. So far, I have had the entire kitchen cleaned twice, a load of laundry done without complaint, several baskets of clothes folded with no whining, and the entire downstairs not just picked up, but pretty well maintained. It’s been mostly clean since Saturday night. Absolutely unheard of around here.
I’m not naive. I know the novelty of this jar will most likely wear off before the prizes run out. Hopefully my money holds out for as long as it’s useful. I also know that there are probably 100,000 “experts” that will tell me what a remarkably awful system this is if I wish to raise well-adjusted adults. I thumb my nose at them. I have to face the ugly truth and admit that I’ve given up the golden ring of “well-adjusted”. It was always a myth. I’m pretty much just hoping they make it to 18 without burning my house down. Sometimes one has to adjust expectations based on the reality that slaps them in the face daily.
The best part of it? For two days in a row, there have been no political discussions about how much a socialist local government is detrimental to the over all morale of a community of people who feel themselves to essentially be slaves.
If this doesn’t work, we’re adopting full monarchy rule, and the U.N. be damned.