Family Work Day

Ode to the Love Token System

The system that has changed our lives... a slight description. 
Perhaps it will change yours as well!

I love charts, organization, and of course, good behavior. 
However, we have tried a lot of different systems.  Chore charts work temporarily before there's too many expectations and too many empty boxes to check.
I have never been a huge reward person. I don't like doing "treats".  Something about sugar as a reward weirds me out, specifically with a certain bronze kid who seems to have a deep connection with it. No name, ahem, bronze kid.

I have read plenty-a-parenting books, and I just never seemed to connect with any true system--they all seemed too detailed or complex to implement for a range of ages. Also different children react differently to types of rewards.  And then, one day, it hit me.  

I feel so loved when my child actually responds with a "yes, Mommy" without my prompting.  Or a child that does the expected tasks (making bed, putting jammies away, getting dressed, etc.) without me double checking.  I feel loved when they treat each other with respect.
They feel loved when they encourage one another without me chirping in the background.  They feel loved when they get help without asking. They feel loved when cared for or thought of.
And that's how the love token system started.

We have random craft items in our house.  One day, I had them paint assorted wood shapes.  I explained to them the details of The Love Token System.  I told them that they will not get rewarded for doing things in order to earn a token, it's simply if I notice them showing true love to one another or to anyone else (parents, friends, etc.).  We discussed what showing love could be.  It could be physical (hugs, affection), emotional (encouraging one another or complimenting one another...also asking Mommy or Daddy how their day was, etc.), spiritual (praying for one another, prompting prayer for someone else), or task-related (chores, picking up after themselves, pushing chairs under the table, etc).

The kicker is you never know when Mommy or Daddy choose to reward you. When we do, we are sure to explain why, "Oh my, Carter, I noticed that you helped your sister take off her shoes and put them in her locker.  I didn't even ask you to.  Please go and get yourself a love token").
It's also not used as a bribe tool... rarely is there a "You do _____ and I will give you a love token".  It's been done once or twice out of desperation, but I feel it would defeat the whole purpose of the system.

The tokens.  Part of the fun for the children is picking out their token themselves.  Certain children (I am sure it won't take long to guess who) have a specific pattern of what shapes they choose. Others choose gold every time because it's like treasure (not hard to guess that one either!).

The system lasts for one week.  They also get tokens removed when they are not showing love.  Tokens are not freely given all day as most of our routine is required or expected, but going above and beyond surely deserves a reward!
At the end of the week, we have a family meeting and "cash in" our love tokens.  All of the rewards are usually time-based and not really working towards toys or treats (although there is an opportunity to acquire something sweet on the list).  The average jar usually has between 7-13 love tokens, which keeps it manageable for Jason and I to maintain our promises.

Here are the kids' jars.  Naturally they're paint dipped...can't be throwing primary colors around here, they do sit on our window sill, after all.

This is our reward list.  I will probably refresh it occasionally so that they don't loose motivation.  The beauty of this system is that the children were going crazy within the first two weeks trying to show love and gain tokens.  I knew that would happen, but the result was some great habits formed.
Manners, attitudes, and responses have all been much improved since we implemented this system.  Sissy even gets it!
Although, someone asked her a while ago why we compost and she told them it's because she gets a love token for doing it without her Mommy asking.  Hmmn.
So there it is, simple, and easy for most families to implement!

I John 4:7

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.


Winter is approaching and we are preparing to heat our house with all the wood that was fallen last year. The Mockabees have been worker bees, including the girliest of girls. 
 This is our first home with a wood-burning stove so the kids are learning all of the steps involved with natural heating.  It's a lot of work, a lot of muscle, a lot of time.  But the lessons they are learning are so valuable, I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Jason and I keep imagining ten years from now... that's a lot of workers and a lot of firewood. 
'Round here, a bounty of firewood is a prized possession, you see.
Oh how dreams and aspirations change!