Before summer slips away entirely, here are a few of the summer systems we've been using:
I was trying to think of a way to fund the kids' inevitable desires for things like bounce house passes, movie tickets, pizza, and new wii games. So we made flyers inviting all neighborhood kids to a weekly playgroup. We charge $2 per kid. My kids plan the activities, supervise the kids, and clean up afterwards. Overall, it's been very fun. The kids have done a good job making sure the playgroup is fun for everyone and balancing structured activities with free time. They used their proceeds from the first half of the summer to buy a new car DVD player for our trip.
I'm always telling myself I need to give fewer negative consequences and more positive reinforcement. So I sometimes set up a system wherein behavior x earns reward y. And then I find the mandatory rewards annoying and counterproductive. Finally I came up with this system of random rewards, which I like much better.
On each square I've written something ranging from "thank you" to "Happy Meal for lunch." Any time I see someone do something good, I can tell them to choose a sticky to remove from the chart. But it's never linked with any specific behavior.
I stack it so that about half the time they'll just get a pat on the back ("You make our family great" or "Chuck Norris is impressed"). I also try to make the rewards strengthen my relationship with the kids, so some of them are things like "Hug Mom" or "Play wii tennis with Mom." I think the kids' all-time favorite is "Mom cleans your room."
I guess we're all still enamored with our new fridge and the water and ice in the door. The kids saunter into the kitchen for ice water about three thousand times a day. And had been using a new cup each time until I finally gave them each their assigned spot on the counter.