Beth is a special mom to two girls. She is very thoughtful and introspective in everything that she does. She models healthy living (swims on a masters swim team) and serves in her community. She’s stopping by today to reflect on the highs and lows of Summer Points. I love that she’s honest, reflective, and hopeful for the future. I think if you’re in the middle of points or figuring out how to wrap it all up, you’ll enjoy this post.
What works: This is our second summer using the summer points system and I am a believer! It brings structure and motivation to our days. I like to divide my point offerings into three general categories: daily chores, life skills, and ongoing learning.
Daily Chores: I have found that it is best to keep it simple – concentrate on only a few chores that you want to see consistently accomplished. The child will be focused on the points earned and is more likely to make a new chore a habit when introduced using summer points.
Life Skills: For us this has mostly included some type of physical challenge that the child is working toward (swimming, jumping off the diving board, riding a two wheel bike, climbing to the top of the rock wall, etc.). The points can provide that extra push for the child who is anxious about stepping out and facing the challenge.
Ongoing learning: I give my 8 year old summer points for each chapter book read and summary written.
Something different that we do:
“Penalties” – this concept worked beautifully for us this summer. Tickets are paid back to the parent for offenses committed. Only two crimes result in a penalty in our home – the unflushed potty and the wet towel on the floor. Again keep it simple – identify the issue you want eliminated and give it a penalty. Power is now in the hands of the child (or so they think!) and they are motivated to keep their hard earned tickets. No more nagging from mom!
What didn’t work: This summer I made the mistake of attaching too high of a point value on physical challenges that turned out to be too great of a stretch for my children’s age and developmental level. When this happens, the parent needs to adjust the challenge before it becomes too frustrating for the child. Before you set a prize, determine when you will be able to award that prize – is it a weekend getaway that needs to be scheduled around work? I offered a trip to Hershey Park as our grand prize and later determined that mid July was the only time we could award this prize.
Plans for the future: Next summer I plan to set up my summer point’s prizes to be very specific to each child. If I offer outings as prizes next year, such as a trip to the movies or ice skating, etc., the outing will be just me and the child who has earned that prize as opposed to a family outing. If one sibling feels that their ability to win a prize is dependent on whether the other sibling also wins it, this can be a problem. I am hoping that individual prizes will be the solution. If I offer an item as the prize, I will probably put together some type of booklet with pictures of the items that can be awarded along with a point’s value next to that item.
Thanks so much Beth! So many things I learned from this post. I hope next year to change how I handle reading books (love the summaries) and maybe not scheduling big events for prizes (hard to manage when it’s a whole family event). Thanks for being honest and open with us! -Kristen