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Surviving Quarantine with Kids - Rewards & Discipline

This whole pandemic quarantine thing has really gotten me thinking. While we are so grateful to have our “ducklings” home during this scary pandemic, it is somewhat of an adjustment. As you probably know from previous posts, we are empty nesters and as such we have gotten set in our ways as a two-person household. Additionally, we have downsized into a much smaller house and space is a bit tight, so we are on a learning curve as to how to live together again.

However, I must acknowledge my gratefulness for having grown kids who know how to (for the most part) entertain themselves, handle their responsibilities and self-regulate. If I had school-aged children, I am not sure I would be in such a good and grateful place – I would most likely be shaking in the corner, drooling screaming, pulling my hair and laughing maniacally to myself!

You see, as much as I love my kids and think I am a pretty decent mom, I struggle at it. I work very hard at trying to be a good, patient, forgiving, and teaching mom. This is not something that comes easy for me, plus add to the mix that everyone in our household is ADD/ADHD and wooooooo-eeeeeeee, it can get crazy sometimes. As such, I was always coming up with systems to help order our chaos. I am going to tell you about one of those systems that I designed for my family years ago; I am very proud of it as it is very effective – even a local psychologist with whom I shared the system, asked if he could prescribe it to some of his patient/parent duos.

The Card System©.

The whole idea behind The Card System© is to encourage your kids to engage in the behaviors that you prefer and to take the volatile emotion out of situations when there is behavior you do not prefer. The Card System© has cards to address positive and negative behaviors – Green Cards and Red Cards.

Green Cards

When you see your kid(s) exhibiting behaviors that are worth reinforcing, acknowledge them. For example, you see your kids sharing nicely, interrupt the good behavior and say "I like the way you are sharing, you earned a green card." Allow them to each pull a green card (basically a reward card) at once and implement it immediately in order to reinforce the desired behavior. 

The trick here is to actively notice the behaviors you prefer and stop and comment on them and then reward them, thereby reinforcing them. Once you get the hang of it, your kids will start to do "good" behaviors in an attempt to "earn" the green cards.



As previously stated, the whole idea behind The Card System© is to reward good behaviors as a means of encouraging your kids to engage in the behaviors you prefer. But every day will not be perfect, and your kids will still misbehave. At these times, you will need to use the red cards (consequences cards).

Red Cards

When your child is misbehaving, first bring their behavior/actions to their attention in a calm voice, "Danny, I don't like the way you won’t let your sister play with the truck. Please share." If they do not begin behaving in the preferred manner, then warn them that they need to change their behavior, or they will get a red card. If they continue to not oblige your request, then immediately remove them; explain why what they did was wrong. Then have them pull a red card (consequences card) immediately. 

Here's the real benefit of the Red Cards - By having them pull the red card, it helps you as the parent keep your emotions out of the consequence process. This is important if you are having a bad day and are having trouble keeping your emotions in check.  Plus, since they are the one that chose the card, they are more likely to accept and own the consequence.

Of course, we all want our children to be well behaved and do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do; we do not want our kids to become dependent on rewards or trinkets. The Card System© is simply an "on-ramp" to the highway of good behavior. Once the desired behaviors become habit, perhaps you will not need to use the green cards as often and simple praise of good behavior may be enough. As the parent of your own child, you can gauge this for yourself.



Boredom Cards

In addition to behavior cards, The Card System© has activity cards called Boredom Cards. The whole idea behind the Boredom Cards is to help the kids come up with something new and unique to do when they simply cannot come up with something on their own.

There are two types of Boredom Cards: Yellow Cards (Solitary Play) and White Cards (Group Play)


Luckily, my kids are now ages 18 and 21 so I really don’t need to have any sort of “system” in place. But as the quarantine wanes on and my adult kids simply get bored beyond comprehension, I may just break out my The Card System© kit. LOL!

Kids pillow fighting

If you would like to purchase an easy .pdf downloadable set of The Card System©, they are available in our Etsy Shop for $2.95. You can print on regular old white index cards or you can get fancy and order a pack of index cards that has Green, Red, Yellow and White in one pack.

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About Laughing Frog Studio

At Laughing Frog Studio we make many upcycled silverware creations - spoon rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, money clips, barrettes, belt buckles, key chains, bookmarks and more! We can even make creations with your family silverware! With your handmade creation, you will receive some history of the piece - manufacturer, pattern name and pattern year.

To learn more about us and our relationship, please visit our About Us page.
Matt and Jen of Laughing Frog Studio playing in a tree illustrating a healthy interdependent relationship

Laughing Frog Studio’s mission is to create high-quality, handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind upcycled vintage silverware jewelry, accessories and housewares that enchant the creative spirit, honor the eco-friendly lifestyle, and spread kindness and a sprinkle of humor as often as possible.

Other Blog Posts:
Spoon Rings and Love Over the Ages – A Unique History
Relationship Goals – Interdependence is Key to a Healthy Relationship
Vintage Silverplate Tells a "Story" Just Like Vintage Photos Tell a "Story"
Silverplate vs. Sterling Silver? What's the Difference?
The Secret Meaning of Flowers on Upcycled Silverware Jewelry
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