How can you keep your kids busy, motivated, having fun, feeling accomplished and productive, and off those darn screens this summer? My hubby and I came up with a "Duckwitz Summer Challenge" to help us with all that and so far it's working well! I've had been asked lots of questions about it and I think it could be a great idea for you too, so I'll try to explain it all here!
My hubby recently finished a health challenge at work and boy, if that didn't motivate him more than anything I've seen! He jogged in place in our bedroom before midnight to get his steps in for the day (haha, I know), then ran to the fridge to get another serving of vegetables for some bonus points. He read lots of books. He stayed away from diet drinks (which is huge for him) and processed sugar (wait, what? MY hubby?). That gave me the idea that something similar could definitely motivate my girls, so we created this "Duckwitz Summer Challenge."
My girls are 14 and 10, but you could modify this for any age. You could really simplify it down to the most basic things you'd like to see your kids do.
The basic idea is a point system with rewards. I know, that seems like nothing new, but here are some reasons this one works...
What I love about it:
We will not be mad if they don't do it and we won't tell them what to do. I'm serious. :) They DO have a few of their regular jobs that they normally have to do before they go off to play (like make the bed, practice piano, etc) - but we added that to the list so they can get points if they do all those.
--It's positive motivation.
I haven't had to nag or hand out negative consequences.
--They do it on their own.
It's self motivated and they keep track of it. Sure, I help sometimes, but there are very few questions about what they need to do. Younger kids will obviously need more help, but having a list keeps you organized, so you don't have to think so hard every day either.
What do you want them to learn? I want them to know how to do a load of laundry from start to finish, cook a meal, grow a garden, etc., so I included those on the list.
--No more "I'm bored!" comments.
It gives your kids lots of ideas of some productive, worthwhile, and fun activities to do.
(..even if it looks like it...) It gives points for things they are already doing, so you're not just adding things to your list of things to do.
I can award points based on things I reeeeeally want them to do. 200 points for finishing a chapter book? Heck, yes!
--Sense of accomplishment.
They feel good doing worthwhile things, and they even get rewarded with points and prizes! They can look back at the end of the summer and see all that they did.
--I can do it too.
There are lots of things I'd like to do and things I'd like to improve on too. When I keep track on paper I feel a lot more accomplished (you know, to combat the "I-don't-know-what-I-even-did-today" feeling that moms sometimes get?) Go ahead, add a category for "kept the kids alive".
OK - so what is the reward? We needed a giant prize at the end of the summer -- something that would actually motivate them to DO the challenge, right? Well, we couldn't think of anything great this time around so we settled on a big wad of cold, hard cash as soon as they reach 6,500 points. Then they can buy the prize of their choice. They have until August 15, but if they get to 6,500 sooner they can have the prize sooner! They also get little surprise rewards along the way... so far they got a couple of shopkins after the 1st week and kinetic sand when they got to 1,000 points. I'd also like to give them something if they do a certain challenge that they haven't done yet. Whatever keeps em going...
Click here for a pdf download if you would like a jumping off point! Yep, free.
What do you think? What do you do with your kids in the summer? Will you do a summer challenge? What will be on your list?