Blog, Parenting

Starting An Incentive To Break A Bad Habit & Encourage Reading Daily!

It’s almost 2am on a Tuesday morning. As I sit nearly in the dark, I reflect on the amazing day I had with my family. Limiting technology hasn’t always been in the picture. I struggle as a parent, even despite the topics I write about in my blog. |My blogs are also what I desire for my family, even though meeting my own expectations can be difficult. But today, was one of those amazing days. The days you wish every day could be as productive as this.

I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant with baby #3. I stopped working and started Maternity Leave a few weeks ago. I love all the time I have, but I hate it as well. I try to sleep at much as I can as I know what to expect once the baby arrives. (Definitely not this much) So….today after I decided to get out of bed, I went downstairs, made myself some breakfast (1pm in the afternoon), a cup of tea and headed to the main living room and started to read my new book; The Art of Screen Time by Anya Kamenetz. Such an amazing writer this woman!

At 5:30pm I left to get the kids from school program. I leave them a little later as they really enjoy the extra time with their friends. Plus, most of the time I get there earlier and they are in the middle of a craft. (Heaven forbid I see it!!) Today, my oldest drew an amazing picture of JoJo. She has a talent that kids, I tell you I wish I could have. She definitely takes after her father.

Right now we are working with my youngest who is 5. She has…..regressed to having accidents what seems to be on a daily basis. This has been a struggle for us to find a way to encourage her to get out of that habit. We managed to “maybe” find something that works? We told her, every day if she can make it after supper without an accident she will get a treat. But only one a day. If she goes all day without an accident at school, gets home and then has one, she loses it for that day and can try again the following. So far… good? It has actually only been a few days. So today after I picked her up at school, the glow on her face was priceless. “I didn’t have an accident today Mommy!!!!” she tells me. I praised her like crazy today because at that moment, she melted my heart with how happy she was.

As for my oldest who is 7, we also wanted to come up with an incentive for improvement with her as well. So for both kids, for every book they read they will receive .05 cents. I found some old plastic wine glasses I never use and put their names on them and created a chart that has the month and the days of the week. Every day they both must read at least one book. If they choose to continue reading more the more money they can make. At the end of the month, 75% of what they have made will go into their savings account and the remaining 25% will be for something we have discussed they want to save for. My opportunity to teach them Delayed Gratification (Future Topic) – something I feel kids today is lacking on.

Anyway, we got home and today I wanted to see how much tech we could adjust. The kids were told, while I am making supper, they have to play. (No TV). Surprisingly, there were no questions asked????? Really? Okay! I proceeded to make supper and my youngest started putting together a puzzle that you can colour once it’s been completed. My oldest decided she was going to help her.

Once supper was on the go we had about an hour or so to wait before it was going to be ready. I decided today I want to be more invested in the kid’s activities at home while I’m waiting instead of checking what news feed is happening on FB. I went into the living room and my daughter told me she had work from school she wanted me to check. Turns out, she got a “C” on an assignment with spelling. It asked her to tell a short story about something she did over the holidays. She wrote how she went to the mall and was able to buy an LOL with her sister and it just so happens it was the Kitty Queen. Which by the way, holy super rare and when she did get it, she screamed like nothing I’ve heard before with excitement. 🙂 I noticed there were a few words that she needed help with, so I made a list of a few words we can work on over the next few evenings. Then I decided I wanted to quiz her on how to tell time and how to count money with flashcards I bought a while back. I honestly don’t think I have ever used them prior. That kid knows even more than I thought and I was so proud of her!

Remember that incentive for reading we discussed? My oldest decided she wanted to read a book before supper so she would have more time later to read a second one. I am impressed how adding the incentive has made her more willing to read. Not to mention, she used to get so frustrated when she stumbled across a word that was more difficult to the point she wanted to give up. Now she at least tries a few times before asking for help.

After the story, it was time for supper. My youngest set the table (as today was her day) and after supper, my oldest cleaned up the table. We made sure any other toys or things that needed to get done were completed. During supper, I encourage as much conversation about our days as I can to find out how they are doing. I find having the kids know more about what happens in a parent’s day is also just as important. I would ask them questions like:

  • What is something that happened at school today that was positive?
  • Who did you get to play with?
  • My oldest had met a new friend so I had her describe her to me. Does she have any brothers or sisters? How old is she? Do you know what some of her interests are?
  • What was your favourite thing about school today?
  • Etc.

You can actually Google “Conversation Starters with Kids” if you need more help with this one. I know sometimes it can be difficult to know what to ask your child that isn’t going to get you the “Fine” “It was ok” “Nothing” responses. Those kill me! I haven’t seen you all day and I want to know what is going on in your life!!!! 😛

It was then time for my youngest to have a bath while my oldest was able to watch 25 minutes of TV. Once my youngest was done, they swapped spots. As they both managed to meet their incentives of not having any accidents and oldest reading a book they both had a treat (Oreo cookie). My hubby and I then got them ready for bed where they both read one more story and off to La|La land they went. For the first night in a while with no issues, bickering, or struggle. What a relief!

Tonight, I would say was a success for limiting technology. Plus, as soon as we got home I put my phone in the kitchen and left it there from 5pm to 10pm and only checked it once as dad went out of town. Don’t get me wrong, the urge to “want ” to check my phone was there, but that is because I am still training myself as well to these new limits I want to create in my home.

Setting limits are good for us and the family. Why would we not want to bond more with our children? (Other than being exhausted). A lot of our children are being raised by people who are not us. Daycare providers, teachers, program supports, nannies, etc. We on average only have 2 to 3 hours per weekday with our child if you work a normal 9-5 job. Of those few hours we get, most of it is not actively interacting with them. If we can find a way to be more present and engaged with our kids, it can only make our relationships better.


Mama Robbins

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