This Saturday, I managed to come up with a way to convince the kids to do their fair share of the clean-up work and a new way to handle rule breaking.
“Crime and Punishment” is our new family “game show.” In “Crime and Punishment” children who break the rules automatically become contestants. Admitting guilt means your punishment is lessened. The Contestant has to choose between a number of possible punishments (2 for Boy, 3 for Princess), the punishments generally fit the crime. Among the more generic punishments is the Bench of Shame, which is jaklumen’s perching bench in the family room. They have to sit there for an amount of time equal to their age and think about why their mistake was wrong. If part of their crime involves making a mess, part of their punishment will be to clean it up. Afterward, they are required to stand before the family “Judge” (jak) and explain to him what they did wrong and, if possible, why. Then the “episode” is over and they are excused.
“Teamwork Saturdaes” is where people who work together get ice cream sundaes as a special treat. I bought some typical sundae toppers and was able to use them to entice the kids into doing much of the Saturday cleanup around the house. Princess, naturally, turned hers into a swamp of toppings and said it looked like “Ice Cream Fairy Barf.” It figures. Boy, who loves making choices, enjoyed the opportunity to pick between different sundae syrups and ice cream toppings. All in all, it was a very rewarding experience for all concerned.