We’re all looking for little tidbits and rituals to insert into our busy lives that actually help in that quest to have life run smoothly. I suspect The Saturday Box is one ritual worth considering.
I’m not saying that my parents did it all right (ahem….no), but circa 1983, I think the Saturday Box exceeded expectations. Our box inspired a sense of greater responsibility and established a democratic process for clean-up in our home. Less fighting, less let-down, less guilt, and less tension. More responsibility, more ownership, and more order. The genius: the box wasn’t just for my brother and me. Plenty of parental-garb ended up in our Saturday Box and the concept alone invoked a sense of equality. Not unexpectedly, we were occasionally feisty; I have a very clear memory of a family meeting being called after my father’s wallet landed in the Saturday Box….
Watch the video about the Saturday Box. What do you think? Have another successful tidbit to share? Will you do this and report back?
I love this idea, but I think you’ll have to wait a few years for me report back, by babe isn’t crawling yet, and I think my husband would get a little testy if I tried to confiscate his laptop.
Claire McCarthy MD says
I love this! I’ve been doing something similar recently with my 10yo daughter, who leaves everything everywhere despite multiple entreaties and reminders: I just scoop the clothes and toys and accessories up and confiscate them (until further notice). It has been working!
The first weeks learning personal/familial responsibility with a Saturday Box will be part family fun and part down-turned faces. Some tension. But within a very short time–Voila, greater household order, less family tension and a gained sense of personal responsibility to self and others. Adults included! So, start with a good size box, because small and large toys, balls, a jacket or two…three, books and boots, take up plenty of space over a week’s time. For younger children I’d begin first with toys, only. Everyone must know and agree to the expected household standard, and agree willingly to participate. And, if the homework must be at school on Friday Joey will have to call a family meeting, but just for his homework. As a family, establish what time each day (say 5pm) the public spaces must be picked up. Wendy and her brother were about 9 and 10 when we tried this “Children the Challenge”-inspired method (R. Dreikurs), and within 2 months the box was forgotten. Or so I thought…
Keith Roberts says
My wife and I used the Saturday box way back in the 1970s. That specific idea actually came out of a child parenting program called STEP–Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (1970s), and that approach was based in turn on Rudolf Dreikurs work from the 1960s (e.g. CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE). Natural and Logical Consequences is an extraordinarily effective approach to discipline, and it totally avoids (and is more effective than) spanking or any other form of corporal punishment.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
Thank you for this reference!