Road trips and kids sometimes just don't mix. I mean, the idea of going away and having a weekend somewhere fun is great, but the reality of kids whingeing and fighting in the back, complaining about how long it's all taking... not much fun!
Last weekend we had a little trip north for Aunty Anna's wedding, and I tried an idea for keeping the kids well behaved, using coloured poker chips (or in my case, Connect Four counters).
It had mixed success, because (sad to say) I am a bit crap at follow-through! So although the kids had earned tokens, they didn't get them redeemed for cash because I hadn't come prepared.
- no fighting or squabbling
- no whingeing or complaining
- every 15 minutes of good behaviour you will earn a token (Miss Fab = yellow; Dash = red)
- when you have 4 tokens you can cash them in for $1
- Put the money in your wallet and that is your spending money for the trip
Well, what a difference a little bit of hard cash makes (not to mention planning and preparation)!
Every 15 minutes they were good I wordlessly passed them a token. Wow, their shiny eyes when I handed them their first $1 gold coin in exchange for their first four tokens!
True to form, Miss Fab immediately lost $1 somewhere between her hand and her wallet. Dash had a shining moment when he handed her one of his coins! Ohhh... what a kind big brother! (we later found the coin and Dash got it back.)
At the half-way point we stopped for petrol (just a small amount of drama, as the petrol light was on and not a gas station in sight... we prayed we'd make it to a petrol station and coasted in on the smell of an oily rag).
Usually this would be where the kids would start asking for stuff: "Dad can I have...??"
Not this time! They had money of their own! By this time they had earnt $2 each and off they ran to spend it.
They came racing back waving their sweets proudly, "Look what I got!"
I am loving this scheme. Great behaviour all the way, no fighting or whingeing for stuff; teaching the kids the value of money earned.
The final remark has to go to Miss Fab (they had some change plus a couple of $$ more they earned by the time we reached Taupo):
"Mum, when we get to Taupo can I use my money to buy my friend Sofia an icecream??"