As promised in last week’s Real Life as a Recently Widowed Homeschooling Mama…
Last Thursday morning after breakfast, I told the boys that we were going to have a family meeting just like they do on one of our favorite shows…”Nanny 9-1-1″. That was my sneaky way of getting them excited. They love that show…not sure why, when I watch it I get ideas on managing their behavior but they don’t seem to get that part. LOL They just love trying to figure out whether the family featured “can be saved” as the show puts it at the beginning of every episode.
Well it was time for my own intervention…except this time without the lovely Nanny to help me.
I felt good.
I was ready.
They were excited and actually interested in what our family rules would be…(there are always family rules in a Nanny 9-1-1 Family Meeting).
I told them that, as a family, we have made a lot of progress in so many areas over the past several months.
We clapped for each other’s accomplishment of “graduating” (also knowing as getting discharged) from Physical Therapy Sessions with our favorite Physical Therapist.
We clapped for them being able to bathe (Michael with my help) without the help/need for a bathing aide coming in three times a week.
And then I got to the part about the house keeping and behavior.
I started by having us clap for us because we are able to do our own homekeeping and grocery shopping and don’t need the homekeeping aide who was coming in three times a week through October. I told them that considering everything we had been through over the past six months, we did a good job of surviving and doing some of the basics…but there were some sloppy habits that had formed…around our house and in attitudes that we needed to work on.
I told them that with it being a new year, it was time for some new Family Rules. They decided they wanted to call them Family Laws. Sounded good to me!
I led them through them one at a time as I wrote them on our homeschooling white board.
Here are our Family Laws
1. Respect Mom and Each Other– LISTEN, No back talking, and just be nice.
2. Blessing Others RULES!!!–Meaning you will be blessed for volunteering to help out mom or your brother or sister without being asked (and being cheerful about it!)
3. Pick Up After Yourself!!!
4. Obeying the First Time WINS!!! (translated means~ You will obey mom the FIRST time you are asked to do something not waiting until the 50th time you are asked!!!)
5. Honor God in Everything You Do!! (If what you want to do or say doesn’t honor God…don’t do it!)
We talked about them as I wrote them on the board. They understood the Family Laws. Then I told them that in order to help encourage them in following them we were going to make our own family Game of Life Board Game.
Now THAT got their attention! My guys are HUGE board game fans!
So they gathered around me as I drew our game board out on a piece of poster board and bounced up and down with excitement as I filled in the spaces they would travel along on the game path to get to the winner’s circle. I kept it very simple…nothing fancy…but they were intrigued.
Then came the big question…”Sooooo we just follow the family laws and we go around the board, Mom?”
I answered with a big smile. “No. You move forward around the board by doing things on this list.”
The list is in the process of being updated tomorrow. After reading this article on the 19 Kids and Counting Website, I decided that I need to make separate lists for Josh and Michael so it is easier for Michael to know what he can do. And I am going to put pictures with Michael’s list since he can’t read yet, but for now this is actually beginning to work!
The numbers you see in front of each job is the number of spaces they get to move forward for doing that particular job.
Here’s what makes the game interesting…this list is how you move forward. We celebrate and really pour on lots of affirmation for moving forward and collecting the prizes on each space on the board.
But you can also be moved backward on the board. They both knew instantly what I was going to tell them. Break one of our family laws and you go back a space and DO NOT get to recollect the prize on that space. Not fun. Not exciting. But that’s the idea.
I put it on the wall and the both studied it carefully…
Once they finish the game board they get to start back at the beginning and do it again! We keep doing this until they have learned to keep their own rooms cleaned up (at least reasonably so) for two weeks and move forward more than they move back on the board. Once they accomplish that…they will have mastered “Level One”. (Yes I am appealing to their love of Learning Video Games here…whatever works, right?!)
Once they “master level one” a new game board will appear on the wall and they will get to start on that one with new more interesting and challenging jobs and new and even more fun rewards!!!
Here’s my guys doing some of their jobs…
(I insist you block out the horrific mess on my “desk”/catch all in the background. One step at a time I will get through it…in the meantime everyone stacks EVERYTHING on it!)
Some days it works great! Other days…well…once they get earn their computer time space they begin to forget that they need to keep working to get to the next one. They did great for the first couple of days…the last couple of days were not as great.
But tonight I reminded them how they get to the “second level of the game” and then Michael reached a “Learning Computer Games 30 minutes” space and Josh wasn’t even close to his next space to earn that (his most favorite thing!!!!)…the lightbulb went on!
He tried everything to convince me to let him have his time anyway. He poured over the job list to see how many he could do and get done before 7:00pm when all computers, Leapsters, and on weekends TV/movies go off. Sadly, he waited until he only had 30 minutes to move 6 spaces. He was shocked that I didn’t give in. LOL But he got the message. He is determined to not let that happen again and has already made a plan to get there by tomorrow afternoon.
But they don’t just like the computer game time spaces. Here are some of the fun things they get to earn along the game of life…
What I have written in the spaces for Level One of our Game of Life…
Extra snuggle/reading time with Mommy
The farther along you get on the board the more toys you get to pick out of the trash fairy bags!!!
We have almost emptied one bag in this one week! I am one excited mama and they are thrilled to be earning their toys back! Not familiar with “The Trash Fairy”? I’ll share more about this another day! LOL A friend of mine used to do it with her kids years ago and they do it on Nanny 9-1-1.
Here are some of the other rewards on our game board:
You get to pick a CD for our family to listen to while we work or play (Josh loves picking an Adventures in Odyssey Episode)
You get to pick 10 minutes of music and everyone has to dance crazy with you!
A trip to McDonald’s for a small ice cream cone
You get to play on the computers in the children’s library at our Public Library when we go next (they have special kid games on them)
Go to the park to play for an hour–you pick the park
Our family plays the board game of your choice after dinner
30 minutes of time on Learning Games on the computer or on your Leapster GS
45 minutes of time on Learning Games on the computer or on your Leapster GS
Pick a prize out of our “Prize Box” (this is filled with $1 store toys, books from yard sales and used bookstores, and the little prizes that come with a kid’s meal at restaurants–they put them in the box when we get them with their meals so that they can earn them later)
I repeat the prizes throughout the game. Some of the spaces have move ahead one space or two spaces.
So they are getting the hang of it slowly but surely. And it is a lot more fun than repeating myself all of the time. And the disrespect and back talking is happening less and less since they hate moving back spaces that they worked hard to earn! So in the end, everyone wins!
We still have some big cleaning projects to finish before Josh’s 10th birthday celebration starts next week. Yes those are my Christmas decorations and Christmas tree still up in the living room. I can’t lift the bins to bring them down the stairs to put things away so Annie brought them down when she was here last weekend. Sickness has hit the folks who were going to loan me my niece to come help me take it down and put everything back in storage this weekend…so I look for plan B. Anyone available to come help? Just kidding! I’ll figure it out.
But this is real life. And we learn to deal with our challenges while missing Daddy a lot especially with Josh’s 10th birthday next Tuesday and Valentine’s Day then too. Ouch! A double emotional week. And while we were at the park tonight, the boys kept sharing memories of when Daddy would play with them or help them cross the monkey bars. I can’t do that anymore because of my back injury still causing me trouble. We get creative and figure new things to do…but the reality of the pain of missing him is still very real for us. I am so glad they feel free to talk about it. It really does help all of us.
And I am so glad that Will and I came up with fun ways to get our guys on the right path when he was with us. And now I have things like this to pull up from my memory to use with them.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s “Real Life with a Recently Widowed Homeschooling Mama”. Next week I’ll share what we did on Josh’s birthday (12th) and our plans for his Mystery Birthday party on the 16th. I can’t believe he will be 10 on the 12th! Where has the time gone??? I sure hope you’ll come back and join me.
Don’t miss a single post! Take a moment to sign up for the free updates through your E-Reader or in your email. And be sure to join the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community where you will find daily updates, Scripture, encouragement and opportunities to share prayer requests or follow us on Twitter!