Monday, March 9, 2009

The Awards Ceremony

We've completely revamped how we do Family Home Evening lately and it's been a lot of fun. In addition to Badger Bucks and the family store, we've been doing an awards ceremony based off some ideas I got in the book "Teaching Children Values" by Linda and Richard Eyre.

I made several award ribbons for specific things relating to certain values we want to reinforce. Right now there are four, though I plan to add some more. There is the "HUP" Award for honesty under pressure, the Brownie Award for secret acts of service, the "WWJD" award for trying to be like Jesus, and the "P&C" Award for being prompt and cheerful. The way I've adapted the award idea for my family is that every family home evening each member of the family will get an award based on what good things I saw them do during the week. We do it kind of like an Olympic medal ceremony. I call their name, they step on on the step stool while everyone hums something like "Pomp and Circumstance" and then I present them with their award and everyone claps. They love it.

This week Bean is getting the Brownie award because he unloaded the dishwasher without being asked. Fish is getting the WWJD Award because he shared his string cheese with Bean and Roo without being asked when we were on an outing one day recently. And so on. The ribbon is theirs for a week. Then they have to give it back so I can give it out to someone else at the next awards ceremony.

I was a little concerned about the idea at first because I wasn't sure I wanted to give the kids "prizes" for living values they should be living anyway, such as honesty. They should be living those values because it's right, not because they get recognition for it. However, I also think that you can't give your kids too much positive reinforcement, especially when they're little. I've noticed that for really little kids concrete recognition (such as a star sticker on their homework page) is very very motivating. It seems to me that this will build good habits that later will translate into doing the right thing because it's right.

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