Corey invented this little incentive to get the kids to sit quietly during family lessons: Put out one cookie or treat for each child - if they complain, goof off, fight, etc, Dad takes one bite out of their cookie/treat. If they whine about what Dad just did, he takes another bite.
They quickly learn to sit quietly and listen and to not talk back or complain, atleast during the lesson, and a half hour of well behaved listening children creates enough happy mood feelings in the parents to last the rest of the evening.
So Corey and I are both Den leaders for Cub Scouts right now, Corey with Webelos, I'm over Wolves and Bears. His Webelos were a little nuts last week, so this week he came prepared with Starbursts which he had on the table in their view - when they were goofing off, he reached for their starburst, then they'd quickly repent and sit still and listen. Worked like a charm, and a light bulb went off in my head - I gotta do this with my Den too!
I also realized this could save my patience during dinner, which occasionally turns into "let's tick off Mom" hour at our house. We've never done it during dinner, but as I prepared my cabbage soup with thoughts of the kids' soon to be complaints ringing in my ears, I came to dinner prepared with girl scout cookies labeled before them. "Children, here is your dinner. You may not like it and that is fine, but I don't want to hear it. If I hear it, I take a bite from your cookie. If you finish your dinner, you may eat your cookie." Worked like a charm, the kids were very well behaved and it was a welcome change (Abi never eats dinner... she'll usually ask I prepare the food "Are we having good food or healthy food?" "We are having healthy food, and it's good too" "No it's not, it's yucky! I don't want yucky food!" She didn't get her cookie on this cabbage soup night, but I also didn't have to hear her complain. Again, it was a welcome change. I shall try it again during our next healthy=yucky dinner.
Of course Lily is queen and got her cookie early, but she's also my best eater. Thank you Lily! I shall enjoy your willingness to eat anything while it lasts (I've got about another year until the feisty fours come around).