There's no doubt about it - parenting is hard! And if you're anything like me, you'll take a little help wherever you can get it. My favorite go to sources are the bible, seasoned moms, friends and blogland. All of them can be great tools, but when we use anything other than His word as a measuring stick of our success as a Mom, we end up failing. Case in point - I love me a good parenting aid to help me keep things around our house fun and simple. In the past I have tried the following:
The Bored Jar - It's genius. When your littles complain that they're bored, you hand them the jar and let them choose an activity. Activities include pretty much any chores that you need help with around the house: dusting, taking out the trash, cleaning out the toy bin... you get the idea. I gave it a try. FAIL.
Technology Tickets - Again, genius. This is for the littles that would rather watch TV or play video games than play outside or use their imagination. Ashley over at Under the Sycamore uses this system for the Wii and Ducks in a Row uses the idea for all technology gadgets. I sooooo needed this in my house. I gave it a try. I even bought a cute vintage toothpick holder to hold my little's tickets. FAIL.
When those two clever aids didn't work for us, we married the two and got... Dinner Winner. Why? Our littles take forever to eat dinner. They stall knowing it will soon be bedtime. It's so frustrating because dinner becomes a 5 course meal for them. Dinner, appetizer, another appetizer, treat, cereal. Good grief! What Mom can keep up with that? And thus Dinner Winner was born. Whoever finishes their dinner first gets to take a ticket with their initial on it and put it in the jar. At the end of the week we tallied up the tickets and whoever had the most got to choose Sunday's dinner. FAIL.
Smiley Faces - When we catch our littles doing a good deed, something selfless, putting others first, etc. they get a smily face. Once they have seven smiley faces they get to choose something fun to do with their Dad. Chuck E. Cheese and roller skating have been among the faves. Success! Finally! We have stuck with this for over four years. Why were we able to stick with this one? It's easy and it works for us. Plain and simple. We have a chalkboard wall in our kitchen and now our boys are old enough to grab the chalk and add their own smiley face when asked to do so.
Does this mean that the other ideas were bad? NO! Not at all. They are genius, every single one of them. But in order for them to work, we had to use them. And, we just couldn't stick with any of them except smiley faces. My point is this, instead of beating yourself up for not doing all the clever little tips that blogland and others provide, find what works best for you and your family. If it's something you have a hard time implementing, no worries; just find something that fits. Remember, they're tips and tricks. Suggestions. Not measuring sticks. Let's keep this parenting gig fun where we can; moulding the hearts of our littles is hard enough without us adding the additional pressure of keeping up with the Jones'. xo