So you know how the crew is doing a blog hop right? Last week we talked about homeschool traditions, and this week it’s all about encouragement and incentives. It made me think about the ease of making my son grin with the fun of unexpected rewards.
Did you know this works for children, teens and parents alike? How do I know? Well.. I’m a mom and when hubby comes home bearing donuts…. I grin! That unexpected piece of encouragement brightens my entire day! (though it does NOTHING for my waistline!). 🙂 The other day my lad and I were talking and I said “you know, when you do stuff without being asked it counts as points”. He was like what? What points? I said, I keep this mental tally of points, when you reach some undefined number I’ll get you something unexpected.
A week later he was like (after being unexpectedly helpful), “Mom, did I get any points this week?” I just grinned at him and said “I can’t tell you that”, but that weekend I brought home some buttertarts (he and his dad love them) and well.. he knew. These things…. they help!
The question is… beyond food treats (which are ever so easy) what else can serve as unexpected reward? Let’s see what we can discover eh?
The why of it all
So what’s the point of those fun and unexpected rewards?
Well… they work! Funny how it is eh? Letting people know you are noticing them and will reward good behaviour, or just want to encourage them to keep doing what their doing… it’s amazing how beneficial it is. It helps people know you notice not only the bad stuff they do, but also the good stuff.
Unexpected rewards means you can bring delight into routine. So that unexpected candy bar for completing their math without complaining. The reduction in chores because for a week they did all chores without being asked. Doing something for mom simply because it needed doing, doesn’t that call for a ride to work? Saved me time, let me save you time.
And when it’s unexpected, it’s not looked for. It’s the surprise and the joy of knowing that something you did right was noticed and then rewarded.
It’s been proven that random rewards are remarkably effective (look at how successful lotteries are).
My son works at McD’s and they have an wonderful incentive program. The teens they hire, it’s often their first job, so they have to learn on the job skills. When the managers notice them doing something right, or exceptionally well, “Have a chocolate out of the bin, let me comp you a drink, oh, you worked hard on a Friday shift, have a meal when you leave”. My son tells me all about these small rewards he gets, and he loves the job as a result. The end result: McD’s gets better employees!
Now, I’m not saying we reward our spouse or our offspring to “get better spouses or offspring”. But rewards, particularly unexpected ones, sure make it easier to live with each other doesn’t it? Hugs, and thanks and appreciation go a long way, and unexpected gifts, just add to the pleasure of loving each other. It’s good for giver and receiver both, don’t you find?
AH, coming up with the fun and unexpected rewards for children is so easy! Well, at least I think so.
- Have a movie day!
- Have a day where you say “yes” to all requests that are within reason.
- Bake a cake.. just because! Decorate it and eat it all up!
- Do only hands-on school
- Do no school at all! Head out to the park, have a “be creative” day, or go to the zoo. Just don’t do school.
- Have friends over unexpectedly.
- Get a family gift and spend time together. Board games, outside game, bikes, maybe a new puppy?
- Have breakfast for supper, or do chocolate chip pancakes, or … whatever food is silly or unexpected. This of course doesn’t work if you normally do breakfast for supper…but you get the idea. 🙂
- Have a “let’s play games day”. Board games anyone?
- Get out of the house and go do something…the local fair, the zoo, the park, a new trail, the beach, etc.
I went to amazon (affiliate link) to see if I could find some suggestions for ways to help.
This of course will be very dependent on your teen as teens are so different from each other. What delights and rewards one woult be complete drudgery to another. For instance, one of my son’s friends HATES with a passion, having to do ANYTHING outside. Just hates it. Loves to be inside, reading, playing computer games, tormenting a sister, or gaming with his dad. My son… loves computer games, board games, long walks outside with someone especially if it’s some place new, and exploring places he’s not been before (like museums, zoos, parks etc). I know another teen who has a variety of hobbies, a couple which aren’t cheap, so… feeding that hobby makes her day!
So what can you do with such divergent teens?
- Play a board game or get out your cards.
- Day off from school
- Ride to work (if normally they make their own way there)
- Give something to further a hobby
- A day off from household chores
- Sleep in later.
- Stay out later.
- Speak about character traits you appreciate and why
- Tell them good job if they’ve indeed DONE a good job
- Throw a party
Moms and Dads often have a variety of different “make me happy” things. I often feel like an “atypical mom” since flowers and foofoo don’t make me happy. So all those posts about buying soaps, or romance books, or planners do nothing for my heart. My hubby loves tools and what not…but bringing home flowers for him… he smiles. I guess we’re a bit of an odd couple eh? 🙂 So when I think of fun, unexpected rewards for parents I tend to think generically.
- Flowers… Just coming home with a single daisy, or a rose, isn’t that smile worthy?
- Supporting a hobby
- Go out for a treat
- Finish a job for them: mow the lawn, make a bed, do the laundry (OH YES PLEASE!!!)
- Take a mini-vacation. Either them on their own, or you with them, whichever is the better thing for your spouse.
- Plan something they would like. A spa day, a day at the racetrack, kibbitz about town window shopping,
- Books! oh, to have a good book to read!
- Head out to the movie or out for dinner, those spontaneous time
- Take a personal day off work, just to be with your family
- Take the children (and family dog if needed) out early on Saturday so spouse can sleep in. OR if you have animals and it’s their responsibility to care for them… feed the animals before they get up!
Giveaway: Considering Homeschool PAK Option B. You’ll need to come back on Saturday to enter. Open Worldwide.a Rafflecopter giveaway