Update to “The Kindness Games”– Keeping Your Cool With Kids During Summer

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Momaste, y’all!

A few weeks back, I posted about something I was trying with my children to help us all get along during the beastly dog days of summer.

On our first day home together, after Jack finished his second grade year at school, the kids were at each other’s throats and I was at my wit’s end.  I just wanted everyone to get along and play nice in the sand box.  So, I invented a reward program to encourage them to be kinder to one another.

Everytime I “catch” them in the act of being kind/polite/generous/supportive to one another, they are rewarded with a point.  When they get 50 points I will take them to a bouncy place like Chuck e Cheese, or they can pick out a cake, or earn some other desired reinforcer.

It took off like gang busters.  My kids were bending over backwards to be nice to one another.  And in general, our days off together on Mondays, when it is just me home with them, are going really well.  We have been able to enjoy a series of fun outings that required cooperation and getting along.

They have earned about 35 “points”.  Not too shabby…

But our weekends have been hellacious.

For whatever reason, when both my husband and I are home with the kids on Saturday and Sunday, the children are “off”.  They bicker, scream, insult, and tantrum with one another.

It is a very weird dynamic that I can’t quite figure out.

The children both ADORE their father, so I wonder if they are doing some major attention seeking with him and if there is a sense of competition between them when he is around. . .

It may have to do with the fact I’ve been really scheduling almost every minute of our Mondays so that they know what to expect and when, but our weekends are a bit more free-flowing.

Transitions during the weekends have been particularly hard for Jack, which really sucks for everyone in the house because he totally flips the switch and the proverbial apple cart with his antics.  There have been a couple occasions where Em and I have just left the house to escape the tirades, leaving my spouse home with Jack until he cools off.

So, it is a work in progress and a mixed bag, but you can bet I will keep you “posted”!!

How is your summer going?  How are you keeping your cool with your cherubs this summer?  

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