Bribes work Best; Parenting with Rewards

After keeping the kids out so late last night and having a party planned for this weekend I was frantically trying to think of a way to get everything done.

My list was a mile long by the time the boys woke up but they were tired and cranky. I finally settled on bribery; though I call it rewarding (since that just sounds better!).

I told the boys if they could all eat breakfast, get dressed and behave long enough for me to go to the store and get what I needed for Ian's party I would get them lunch at McDonald's and allow them to decide how to spend the rest of their day-- swimming in the lake, playing at the park, watching/playing screens.

I wouldn't argue or care as long as they didn't fight.  They all eagerly jumped at the chance and started getting ready. 
Their behavior was still pretty touch and go for a while.  They all fought a bit here and there while getting dressed but one of them would always remind the others to behave.

We packed Ian's skateboard, helmet and a bag of bathing suits and towels for the park; in case they wanted to go there after shopping and decided to head to the library first.

The ride to the library was a bit tough but you could have heard a pin drop in the car once our new book on CD started playing.  We were listening to a compilation of a bunch of Judy Blume books with The Pain and The Great One.  The stories were hilarious and are about and brother and sister and their lives complete with angst over friends, sibling rivalry, and a slightly dysfunctional family. 
The two younger boys needed quite a few reminders in the first store but Ian was remarkably helpful.  He even helped load up the car once we got outside.  Some day I'm struck by how grown- up and helpful he's become.
We stopped at McDonald's like I promised and we all decided to take our lunch with us to the park.  It was a beautiful day and the park was quite crowded.

As we were walking to the car I was thinking that what had started out as a potentially bad day had turned out really well.  The boys were being sweet and all getting along.  We were finding the time to hang out and have fun together.  It was wonderful. 
We listened to some more stories in the car on the way home and once home all the boys played nicely for quite a while.  Ian and Evan worked on building boats and jet skis with their Lego's while I unloaded the car and got everything put away.  Alec and Evan headed out to play and get ready to go swimming.  Ian soon joined them and when I got outside they swam and played for a bit.

It was just one of those long, lazy summer days that seemed to stretch on endlessly (but in a good way!).

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