We are in the second week of our summer school holidays. Sadly, I had just about lost the plot by the end of the first. My kids, having quickly recharged their batteries, are constantly bored (apparently), and spend most of their spare time either asking for screen time, or winding each other up. Don't get me wrong, I do loads of stuff with them. This particular week we had; camped at one very muddy music festival, gone for a long country walk every day, been swimming, seen friends, cycled, cooked, crafted... the list goes on.
The kids have always had chores that are meant to be their responsibility, in order to earn their pocket money. Lately, and last week in particular, any request from me for help around the house has been met with a combination of belligerence ('I'm not doing that, I've got money saved') and whinging ('she's not helping me with the recycling, why do I have to do everything'). It was clear we needed a new approach. Our job box is inspired by a pin I saw some time ago on Pinterest. That pin featured a pin board with large bulldog clips. Each clip held a task and a dollar bill to be earned. Here in the UK we no longer have a small denomination note; I was turning over ideas of coins in envelopes, and Monopoly money when inspiration struck!
Our new currency is screen time vouchers. I found some free to use clip art to put them together, and then simply printed out a couple of sheets. We painted a paper mache casket, and some little boards of wood. These are colour coded. One colour for each child, and one for jobs that both kids have to complete together. We also made two star boards; these are bonus boards that will have a voucher attached when the kids have earned an extra reward. Both kids were very excited by the new system, we sat down and worked out who was going to be responsible for what, and decided we would start using it the next day.
The following morning the kids woke me up at 6.30am, full of excitement. You guessed it, they had completed all their jobs and were brandishing their vouchers at me. Slight disappointment followed when they discovered that the 'no screen time before tea' rule was still in force. The system, however, continues to work really well for us; checking the box each day is far less onerous than mummy constantly nagging them, and I have to say I am delighted with how well it is working - long may it last!