Monday, July 28, 2008

Positive Reinforcement

I'm thinking of developing a sticker reward chart.

For my husband.

Epu has a good attitude, is willing to perform household tasks, but often doesn't know just what needs to be done or has trouble remember the 10,000 extremely important rules I have for where things go and how things must be done. Like most humans, he doesn't like being nagged and corrected all the time.

The chart would go something like this. Stars would be awarded only when said tasks are completed without husband being asked.

1 Star: After-dinner dishes, fold and put away laundry, take out trash, get kids' teeth brushed in morning, get kids dressed.

2 Stars: Close a drawer or cupboard after getting something out, cook the entire onion or pack of raw sausage instead of putting half of it in a baggie and leaving in fridge, put milk on door of fridge instead of shelf, make own work lunch. Carry bucket of dirty laundry downstairs or clean laundry upstairs. Take children out of house for more than an hour. Bring home dirty tupperwares from work lunches and TAKE THEM OUT OF BACKPACK.

3 Stars: Finish entire post-dinner kitchen cleanup. Commit spontaneous act of cleaning (i.e. vacuum out car, wash windows). Plan and execute date with wife.

Now, it may seem crazy to award only 1 star for putting away the laundry, which can take an hour, and two stars for something as small as closing a drawer. But I think we need more powerful incentives to do something that goes against our core nature, no? Three stars are for things that have never or rarely occurred, or not without me begging and pleading and nagging.

Let it also be said that Epu is almost always busy with his own agenda, consisting mostly of repairs and maintenance on our 94-year-old house. The sticker chart isn't for those things.

Now, to come up with the rewards for 5 stickers, 10 stickers, filling up the chart ...

The mind reels.

11 comments:

Mike said...

I've been asking for this for years.

Anonymous said...

My husband has trouble closing drawers and cupboards, too ... and yet he is an engineer. I think there is an absent-minded professor thing going on there -- so absorbed in his thoughts that he literally does not see the chaos before him (and swiftly growing in his wake).

Artist4life925 said...

My husband is the same way, oblivious to everything I do because hey, it doesn't change his pattern. He hates it when I nag and I was thinking of a sticker/star reward program too....with naughty incentives ;)

Kori said...

It seems you have been experiencing "boy wake"---the trail of "husband has been here" that follows behind the man of the house. Like you, symptoms of boy wake at our house include unclosed drawers and cabinets, as well as piles of "pocket vomit" (aka, the assorted coins/receipts/small notes/random crap that is usually crammed in my husband's pockets and deposited wherever there is free-space on a dresser or counter.)

If stickers work, I will invest in a sticker factory.

Lorrie Veasey said...

I didn't see any mention of stickers for improved bathroom behavior. I'm just sayin.......

Sara said...

I think you have a marketable strategy here. I know that I would certainly buy in...especially with the idea of rewarding for carrying laundry upstairs.

New Mama said...

My husband is pretty good (though I do often go around after him and shut drawers and cabinets) but it kills me that he can't multi-task. He thinks it's really rude that I empty the dishwasher while on the phone and he never thinks to take anything with him when he goes up or down the stairs.

Nicolah said...

I need one of those charts for my husband! I might make one when we move.

Notta Wallflower said...

Guys are pretty easy. Isn't a BJ reward enough (unless that is part of regularly scheduled programming anyway)? :-P

Carrie said...

Ooh, naughty Notta! I would love to see little drawings of the rewards at the end of each row of stickers. Oh my.

Notta Wallflower said...

Ha, ha - just get the kid from Superbad to help you with the drawings.