22 March 2009

On the Road Again

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.

This weekend, we had another trip planned - this time twice as long - to visit friends in Lake Taupo in the middle of the North Island (a four hour trip).

And this time I was determined to be better prepared, so I came loaded up with $1 coins. I waved this glittering stash under the noses of my offspring, and went over the rules again...

  • 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??"

Bless her!

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PaisleyJade said...

What a great idea!

Rebecca said...

Good thinking Simone...money will definately work for my kids too!

Gail said...

Nice. Wondered where you were yesterday morning!
Will keep this trick for the future. Our kids are really good on long trips at the moment. Not sure why!!?

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