by designing mom lori
we’ve had a big problem around our house recently. our 4 year old fin (5, as of yesterday!), whined about everything. it was really starting to grate on our nerves and we realized we needed to nip it in the bud before it got worse.
after thinking about what we could do to discourage him from this behavior, this is what we came up with.
It’s called “the winning stick”. we let fin name it because we wanted him to connect to the idea. the premise behind it is that when you do good things, you move up the stick. when you do not-so-great things you move down. when you get to the top, you get a prize. (hence the choice of the name “winning stick”) for us, we let the kids choose the prize (with help), and it’s different every time. the first time it was a small toy. they were taken, by themselves, to the store as a special treat and could pick out a toy under $5. the second time it was an . we’re on our third round now. one piece of advice: start them off about 1/3 of the way up the first time. chances are there will be a lot of moving down until they get the concept. also, when they reach the top, we always re-start them about 5 spots from the bottom so there’s room if something not-so-great happens.
here’s a little bit about how i made ours in case you’re interested in doing something similar:
i made one clothes pin for each boy. i let them pick out their own colors and patterns. of course they wanted multiple colors so we did one color on each side of the clip. all i did was print out the images on my home printer and then cut them to size and mod podge them onto the clips. you could print out just about anything for this or even go to your local craft store and use scrapbook paper.
for the main stick, i started out with a dowel. i painted the whole thing in the apple green color. then i printed out more paper and cut it into 1” strips. i wrapped them around the dowel and used mod podge again to adhere them at 1” increments all the way up the dowel.
for hanging purposes (which you can see in the first image) i looped a piece of ribbon over the top and glued it to the sides of the dowel. i then took another piece of ribbon and wrapped it around the dowel to cover the end of the ribbon. i recommend hanging it at kid level so they can move up and down themselves.
so far this system is working well for us. if they’re not doing something we like we tell them to go move down the stick. if they do something great, we tell them to move up. if it’s super great, or vice versa we may tell them to move up/down 2 spots.
what do you use to help motivate your kids? share with us what works for you!