I'm sharing two behavior contracts today to show you a way to simplify house rules, help ensure short term goal reaching and maintain a positive atmosphere at home.
Do you ever feel like you're repeating yourself to your kids over and over and over and STILL they don't change their behavior?
Yeah, me too.
Sometimes conversations I have with my children LOOK like they're working, then a week or 5 later, everyone's back to the same patterns (or patt-rens as my 5 year old says) and I'm annoyed that no one LISTENS TO ME!
Then we might have an ugly scene where, instead of addressing the behavior that's unacceptable, I'm addressing the fact that NO ONE LISTENS TO ME! And I still don't resolve the problem.
Insert a behavior contract.
Yes, I used to be an attorney. Old habits die hard.
Even though I did fail Contracts I my first sememster, so really, if my professor knew I'd used behavior contracts with my kids he'd probably say, "Are you sure you included consideration?"
Which sometimes I don't! But shhhhhh, don't tell my kids that. They think this thing's binding as Denture adhesive.
I only reserve behavior contracts for really important things.
Like the years when one of my children couldn't attend a birthday party EVER without crying during it. I understood why, but we had to stop it.
And this year? We have two behavior hot spots in our house requiring a contract.
Volleyball and technology.
Volleyball needs a contract because the child participating isn't a real ball-handling kind of girl. She enters into this type of sport because she wants to be with her friends and/or she gets talked into it by her friends.
Notice what I didn't say there? Nothing about skill building, trying your hardest, being on a team or good sportsmanship.
All things that are part of ball-handling sports team membership.
Here is the contract for volleyball:
What isn't showing on the volleyball contract is her incentive. If she exceeds this contract, she can earn extra technology. If she meets it, she will maintain her weekly technology allowances (see below). If she falls below the contract requirements, she will lose technology. If the coach calls me? Katie bar the door – she's in deep do-do.
I've gone years without having a technology contract. But my 10 year old bought her own iPad and my 5 year old all of a sudden wants on the computer all the time. And? Our schedule this Fall, not including homework, is horrendous.
Truthfully, there is no time for technology. And there sure as heck is no time for technology battles.
So, Mom got mean this year:
I figured it wouldn't be very fair to them to ban technology so we have more time and then have me sneaking on it all afternoon and evening.
Also, notice how much time they get on weekends. That's a lot, as far as I'm concerned.
Which raises the question, how much time do you let your kids use technology (defined here as any screen time)?
In my Fall newsletter, I'll update you on how we're doing. In the meantime, in what areas do you think you'd need a behavior contract?