I had bought some charts last time we were in the States, so that was nice to have. I colored in some of the squares, to leave only 12 blank ones. I explained to Canaan that if he unloaded the dishwasher when I asked and without complaining, then he could get a sticker on his chart. Once he got 12 stickers, filling in all the blank squares, then we would take him to the store and buy him a little car. He was very excited! Daddy was a little disappointed at having to wait almost 2 weeks-minimum- to buy him something (he is the gift spoiler in this household!), but he agreed! Of course, I told Canaan if he didn't obey and unload the dishwasher as soon as I asked, or if he complained, he wouldn't get a sticker BUT, he still had to unload the dishwasher- it is part of the way he helps our family.
The next day, I asked Canaan to unload the silverware. He practically sang through it! He talked to me about how he didn't like to do it before, but now he loved it now. It was soo wonderful! And for the next few days, he would ask if it was time to unload the dishwasher and if he could help. Amazing! Well, we didn't run the dishwasher everyday, but after 12 times, Canaan had 12 stickers, and we planned a family trip to the toy store. Daddy and Canaan went in and went through a big box of all sorts of matchbox cars. At the end, Canaan wanted Daddy to pick- he just couldn't decide. So Dougle narrowed it down for him and he picked. And then Daddy picked one for himself too! Stinker! So, Canaan walked away the proud owner of one (two) new cars!
I must say that the no complaining part hasn't stuck the way I was hoping. We learned some good lessons with the chart, but Canaan is back to asking if he can 'do it later' when it is time to unload. Complaining is just a hard thing we are working on with him now, in a lot of areas. I think the chart was great, but the results weren't as long lasting as I'd hoped. I don't think I'll give up on the idea of incentive charts. Actually, I have a new one up for nap taking (since he has been trying to keep himself awake during nap time), but he really has no interest in putting stickers on it, even when he does nap! But, with this complaining business, I am going to have to be a bit harder and stricter in my discipline/punishments of it. I think complaining is a bad habit that is hard to break. I want to do my best to not let it become an issue in my child's life, by not letting him develop a worse habit of it while he is still a toddler, or under my roof. It is best to break the habit early and young, right? Even as I write that, it sounds like a tall order, especially since I, myself, am prone to complaining. However, maybe it can be a family effort, to help clean up our attitudes and improve our outlook on life, from the inside out. After all, what is that verse my Mom made me memorize..."Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you may shine as lights in the universe!"