"Colorful" milk rewards kids for pre-mealtime cleanup
Mari's colorful solution for getting the kids to the table:
My daughter's preschool teacher came up with a fun way to encourage the children to clean up promptly for lunch. It made such an impression on our 3-year-old that we have started incorporating it into our dinner routine: If the children clean up their playthings before dinner, we put a drop of food coloring into their milk as a fun reward.
Our daughter loves the cheery treat, and now we're even able to show her how to mix colors. If your family doesn't drink milk, the same technique could be used for water. This is certainly a reasonable and immediate reward, and it gives both our kids a choice by allowing them to select the color.
In our house, our 3rd grader is the one to create the colorful milk, and he enjoys it just as much as his sister. Most welcome is the sense of order it fosters during a hectic time of day!
I love those positive rewards systems...anything to focus attention on what we want kids to DO.
Related: Tricks for keeping toddlers hydrated