Tuesday, April 12, 2011
CREATIVE PARENTING ~ VIDEO CLIP
It’s Easter morning, the egg hunt is over. What’s that noise? It’s certainly not the normal sugar-induced-race-around-the-house-finger-painting-the-walls-with-chocolate-stained-fingers noise that typically follows the traditional egg hunt.
No, this year it’s the sound of quiet giggles. You inch your way closer to their bedroom door and hear … friendly bartering for tickets? You shake your head to clear the obvious static and lean in a little closer … Surely they are fighting because one of them ate all of his favorite peanut butter chocolate nuggets and ‘conveniently’ forgot that the green basket belongs to his brother as he ‘innocently’ helped himself to a another.
You brush off the fleeting thought that perhaps your hearing is failing already as you adjust your Mommy Antenna to hear more clearly. There, now you can hear, the sounds of … yes, that IS quiet giggling and friendly bartering!
Panic sets in! Who stole your kids and replaced them with what sounds like gentle, joyful, well-behaved negotiators?
Pouncing through the door, you see them sitting on the bed with piles of little strips of paper on their laps, offering to swap a ‘stay up late’ ticket for a ‘trip to the ice cream stand after dinner’ ticket. Ahh ~ you smile, pat yourself on the back and head downstairs to reward yourself with a celebratory cup of tea as you remember your stroke of genius.
This year, you decided to do an Egg Hunt With a ~Twist~
Here are the easy steps you followed:
You gathered 3 simple things ~ well, 4 if you count the hot cup of fresh-brewed tea to sip on while you worked:
1. Inexpensive plastic (pull-apart) eggs in various colors
2. Small strips of paper to make ‘prize’ tickets
3. A list of ‘prizes’ to write on those strips/tickets
A few suggestions:
"I get to choose family entertainment this weekend”
"I get to pick what’s for dinner tomorrow night”
"I get to stay up 15 minutes late tonight”
(of course all with a disclosure ‘can only be used with parental consent’)
You also threw in a few dollar bills and coins
Then you followed these simple instructions:
You separated eggs into color groups to make it fair for different age groups
Older kids can only cash in red, yellow and green
Younger kids can only cash in blue, pink and purple
You then assembled prizes in equal amounts for each age group
Putting the same amount of each ‘prize’ tickets and cash in both color groups so that each group has an equal amount of the same prizes
For a large age difference, you decided to hide the older kids’ eggs in higher places to keep it simple
This way, if older kids snag some of the younger group’s eggs, you’ll know by the colors, and you can throw back anything from their basket that is not in their color group.
Done! Wow! … That was just too easy!
All that remained was to hide the eggs before the cousins got there on Easter morning. You sipped your cup of still-warm tea knowing already that this was going to be your favorite Easter ever!
What you didn’t know yet was that it would quickly become your kids’ favorite, too. This egg hunt will have them begging every Easter for ‘tickets’ instead of candy as they will LOVE ‘cashing them in’ throughout the year!
You never dreamed that these tickets would become such hot commodities in your house or that they also proved to be a fabulous lesson in economics. Your kids will quickly learn value by trading certain tickets for those more precious to them; they will cherish and keep them in well-designed hiding spots waiting to be ‘spent’ very wisely throughout the year. In fact, you’ll soon consider putting expiration dates on them when you learn that your kids are hoarding them from year to year!
Fast-forward about 15 years into the future … when your 20 year old son, home from college on spring break, pulls a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket after dinner and smiles a warm, knowing smile while he hands it to you before clearing the dishes from the table. Yes … he’s finally clearing the dishes without being poked and prodded! But refocus for a moment here, please! … You curiously unfold the paper to discover a 15 year old ‘stay up late’ ticket he just found ‘hidden’ under a loose piece of carpet in the corner of his closet!
Well played! Enjoy the memories, and this moment, while sipping your after-dinner tea. Now, wipe that tear, Mom … Oh, and Happy Easter, genius!
P.S. You can catch a glimpse of me demonstrating this on a CBS morning show here.