This summer is the summer of golden tickets. Okay, so they are really red, but they might as well be made of gold. I had been pulling my hair out with the fighting, bickering, attitudes, and the incessant requests for Wii time and computer access. There are TONS of things to do in the summer that do not have anything to do with digital media or something fired up by electricity. So I bought a roll of carnival tickets and sanity began to prevail.
I dish out two tickets per day – given at the beginning of the week with the kids initials on it and the day of the week listed on the back. They can choose to use their tickets on the day of, or save them up for a rainy day, but cant use them in advance. Each ticket is worth a half hour of anything electronic, (i.e. – computer, Wii, etc) When the tickets are gone, so is all turn taking and time. No more fights and who got longer. Nothing. Timers are set, and tickets turned in. No tickets get used before chores are done and tasks finished. They are small and take under a half hour for the day. Not a lot to ask.
Abuse your “gifted” tickets and loose them. Do awesome things like more chores than asked, don’t whine all day, or many other wonderful things that mother’s love and get an EXTRA treasured ticket with a huge star on the back. My way of saying thanks and I appreciate it, AND I saw their efforts.
But more than the getting and using of time (and mom gaining sanity) is the lesson for the kids in all of it. They are learning how to manage their time wisely, making choices, and learning to go above and beyond often has real rewards that are worth far more than money (and often it’s my grin and hug they love more than the extra ticket).
Believe it or not they LOVE the ticket way of life. They feel in control of what’s going on vs being a victim of the unfairness of their siblings, of me, and feeling like they have no say in things. It is freeing for us all. I am less a bad guy and more of a regulator. Just reinforcing facts.
So if you are loosing your mind with all the arguing over the computer, gaming machines, and the various ways kids can drive you nuts, try a $2 roll of carnival tickets and ride the Carousel of Sanity!