Sometime in July or early August the fighting between these two became unbearable. I wanted to punish them all the livelong day. Lock 'em up. Nate and I talked about it and we didn't really have any new ideas, so we tried the ol' incentive-earning game again. This time it was earning beans (!), dry beans (!), for being kind to each other. We like to call them kindness beans. That just goes to show how gullible kids are; you tell them earning beans is a big deal and they'll straight up believe you. Seriously, we just have two bowls and I transfer beans from one to the other and they care. Anyway, the problem was for me to figure out something they wanted bad enough to motivate them to be kind when they really really just wanted to scream--and the answer was really rather obvious: TV.
I think I normally fall somewhere in the middle (or on the less side of middle?) of tv watching strictness, but over the winter and through my pregnancy of course that was one thing that grew and grew to suit my laziness. I wouldn't say it was out of control, but they were watching a show of any given length every morning and every afternoon and sometimes it added up to 87 hours a day (roughly). So the new system was that they could watch one short show (20-30 minutes) in the morning and once they earn all the beans they can watch a movie. And the funny part is that I am using like 100 beans. It has been ending up that they earn about one movie a week, which I think is Fine. Sometimes I'll just throw handfuls of beans into the appropriate bowl if they aren't earning quickly.
Has it worked? I don't know! Results like this are really not quantifiable, but under pressure I would say that yes, it is working. They at least watch less tv, and they probably maybe hopefully get along a little better. I have let them have a bonus show once or twice when Nate's working late, but overall we aren't having a hard time sticking to one show a day. And that's all about television small.