Monday, November 28, 2011

Bedtime Discipline Plan and a game for Snow Days

Indoor Standing Long Jump
First, the game. It was born on a rainy day not too long ago. For some reason or another I had the masking tape out. Benjamin was jumping around, literally. And -- inspiration! We marked where he started from and how far he could jump with the masking tape on the carpet. An active, indoor game with super easy cleanup! Extensions: indoor hopscotch! mazes! roads for cars!

Benjamin's Bedtime Discipline Plan 
If there was one thing I learned from getting a degree in Elementary Education, it was how to write a darn good discipline plan. Here's ours, to be implemented tomorrow night:

Teach intrinsic motivation:
  • Your body needs good food and good sleep in order to have energy and be strong.
  • When you begin to yawn, your limbs begin to ache, etc. your body is feeling like it wants to go to bed and rest.
  • When you wake in the morning and you feel happy, and your body has energy then you know you got a good night's sleep.
  • You can lay in bed before you feel tired, to help your body begin resting.

Supplement with extrinsic motivation (positive reinforcements and positive punishments):
  • When you get in bed you get a sticker.
  • When you stay in bed all night you get a treat in the morning (new card, piece of candy, extra book, etc.)
  • If you come out of bed you get a yellow light posted on your door.  If you come out of bed again, you get a red light. If you come out another time, you get a sad face on your bedtime chart. All other days (from treat to yellow light) get a happy face.
  • When you earn a predetermined number of happy faces, you earn a big treat (new toy, new book, an outing, a special food, etc.) 

Negative punishments (meaning punishments that take something away, i.e. "give me back the sticker," rather than giving something i.e. "here is a yellow light") don't seem to work well for Benjamin, at least at bedtime. If we try to take something away from him, it starts a huge fit. Counterproductive. 

Now. We'll see how this works out. Can his stubborness withstand the warm calculations of a mother who paid attention in her child psychology class? Only time will tell...

Wish us luck, feel free to pray for us (goodness knows we all need more sleep around here, including Levi who gets woken up by huge fits). 


Cami said...

Our curriculum teacher makes us present 2-3 "Facts" i.e. quotes from the book from the chapters for that week. Here is one of the quotes I collected: Providing tangible rewards, such as food, time off, and good-student awards, tends to undermine intrinsic motivation for the rewarded activity. To facilitate intrinsic motivation, it is more important for teachers to plan interesting learning activities, offer more student choice, and ensure challenging work tasks. Intrinsic motivation “promotes creative task engagement, cognitive flexibility, and conceptual understanding of learning activities (p 91). Not sure if that is any help to you in your lovely but complicated discipline plan. I think you are just creating more work and expense for yourself. Experience (with you) tells me that he will finally figure it out if the pressure comes off and he turns 4. I love you all!

Annaliese said...

Thanks for the child psychology 101, Alysa. Keep it coming! After reading this I already started talking to Addie about the reasons why we do things. It's so hard for me to remember that she honestly doesn't know that stuff yet. Also I realized that she doesn't know who Santa is, so I've got a lot of explaining to do.

Annaliese said...

PS-I totally agree about writing down rules/consequences. We were at our wits end with Addie after Carter was born and writing down a few things we were going to be 100% consistent on for 3 weeks was a lifesaver.