Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rewards Program

It has been a while since I updated the blog.  I totally skipped over Christmas but I did post to the boys' blog about our Christmas.  As I mentioned before, we transitioned Gretchen to a new daycare school setting in August.  They gave us an assessment of her in November that indicated she needed some fine motor help as she cannot write yet.  We ended seeing an occupational therapist to help with her writing skills.  This whole ordeal, yes ordeal, has been difficult for all of us on some level.  With the twins arriving, our lives were turned upside down and to some degree attention to some preschool skills got lost in the shuffle at our house.  Both Steve and I blame ourselves a little though we're trying not to make a big deal of it.  Another issue, in our minds at least, is that she has just recently figured out she is a lefty which is challenging for us as rightys.  I personally think Gretchen does notice how the kids are writing at school and has frustration about her abilities. 

We have had some behavior issues lately (possibly a result of her frustration) that have pushed Steve and I on to the next level of parenting.  We decided to start the rewards program to get her behavior and outbursts at school in check.  She needs to earn twenty stickers in five days to get a "prize" at the end of the week.  The prizes are of her choosing.  Week one was dinner and a ride on the merry-go-round at the mall.  The second week was a "camp in" where we set up her ladybug tent in the front room and slept there for the night (mommy was on the futon by her).  Last week it was a weekend of dressing up as Princess Leia.  This week she wants to have her hamburger hut set up for the weekend.  So far, it has really helped.  We've been reading Chick Moorman's book Parent Talk to help us adjust our expectations and language which has also been helping us with Gretchen.  Though I don't need to say it, I will say how much we love her and want her to be confident, curious and creative!

I know this is not a new path for parents but it's new for us.  We want her to be ready for kindergarten so we have been pushing activities that we know will strengthen her hands:  writing, coloring, playdough, lacing cards, necklace making, cutting, etc.  I am optimistic that she will be fine next year as long as we can keep the activities fun and constructive!  Now I understand why everyone thinks babies are easier (which they are not - just different, especially when you have twins).