I have a friend (with the same first and last name as me, go figure, but she goes by Angie) that used to have a business called "Sweeter Homes". She is one of those moms I admire, and has given me lots of great family management inspiration! (She was also the inspiration for my punch cards. I used to use hers, but had to make my own when I ran out.)
Another thing I loved that she does with her kids is an "Exchange Journal", which I call "Dialogue Books". This is a lot like Heather's Love Notes book (below). It was a couple years ago that Angie gave me an Exchange Journal to try with my oldest child, and this is how she explains the book...
I'm not as good about keeping up with this one, but we do try. I have my boys (age 10 and 8) keep their little notebooks with their scriptures. I am trying to teach them to listen at church and write down notes and inspiration there as well in the notebooks. I also use these little notebooks for our written dialogue back and forth. My older son does better with it than my 8 year old. I decided to give these notebooks to them at age 8, but I think 10 might be a better age to start, at least for a boy (or maybe just for MY boys). :) It's been a neat thing to have and do, even though we are kind of sporatic with it.
TALK TIME is a special bed-time ritual in our home and one of my kids' most favorite traditions!! I got this idea from the parenting class that I've been attending on/off for the last 8 years. Each night of the week (Mon. thru Thurs. for us since I have 4 children) is one of the kids' "Talk Time". This means that at bed-time when tucking kids into bed, I spend extra time with one child just talking with them. I either kneel next to or lay down next to them and we just talk. I ask them about their day, their week, things that made them happy and/or sad, let them ask me questions, etc. My kids each know which night of the week is their turn, and they look forward to it and never hesitate to remind me!!
*One cool perk about this too, is that it helps get the kids in bed quicker. I tell everyone that we need to hustle to get to bed so it doesn't cut into so-n-so's Talk Time. (And usually that child will help encourage the others as well.)
Talk Time Tip: "Talk Time" is NEVER "Lecture Time"!! No lecturing allowed during Talk Time! Just listening, asking, answering, encouraging, building and bonding. (You get the picture.)
(updated since some wanted to know)
Again, this idea came from my friend, Angie, who used to sell them as part of her business called "Sweeter Homes". She no longer runs that business, so I had to create my own punch cards since they worked so well for my family.
Punch cards are a great way to motivate the kids to do their jobs, go the extra mile, do an extra job, obey the first time, etc. I put my kids' name on their card, and hang them on the fridge with a clip. I have a star puncher that I keep nearby to punch them with. (They also love to punch their own cards, with my permission.)
Once they have all 16 spots punched out, they get to choose something from the "prize box"
and their card goes up by my calendar to schedule their real reward... Each card (for us) is worth ONE HOUR ALONE with either Mom or Dad, to do an activity of their choice. They love this!! And I love it cuz it works! (Note: These can be redeemable for anything you decide. We used to let them be worth a new, inexpensive toy from the store, but we have found that what our kids really cherish most is our TIME and one-on-one attention.) *What influenced this decision even more was this talk, given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
Click HERE if you would like a copy of my punch cards! This is my gift to you for reading this post. Print them out on cardstock and cut. There are 10 cards to a sheet!