We’ve been dealing with some issues lately that we finally figured out how to handle in a way that works for us and is manageable. Of course, we’ve been doing this only for about a week.
Here were the things we needed to take into consideration when choosing our strategy:
- Adding positive rewards to our discipline strategy. Sticker charts mean diddly to Jaron (other than the scripture memorization chart, which he digs for whatever reason).
- System simple and interesting for all of us.
- Fun way for him to teach household responsibilities and extra chores to earn rewards.
- Addressing some persistent behavior issues like whining, aggression toward his sister, and begging.
- Hate to admit this publicly, but we were letting him watch way too much TV and use his iPhone (yeah, I know… it’s an old one of my husbands that is not set up to make calls).
So here’s what we came up with after researching ideas online and asking some friends experienced in this sort of thing:
I got the idea (and printouts) for our chore chart from the Homeschool Creations blog. Visual, interactive, easy to maintain, and I already had the required materials on hand.
The “regular” chores we currently give him are:
- Brushing his teeth
- Making his bed
- Devotions/Quiet time
- Cleaning up before naptime or bed time
I also give him three or four “earning” chores, choosing among options like:
- Feeding the cat
- Tidying up the shoe area by the front door
- Helping fold laundry
- Helping gather clothes for laundry
- Washing windows
- Clearing the table
- Setting the table
- Helping unload the dishwasher
- Watering the plants
- Vacuuming (dust buster)
- And so on
Of course, these are done with help and/or supervision and to the degree a 3 year old can do them. He loves it. 🙂 He really does many more besides what he is assigned. He is more interested now in helping with whatever I’m doing, not only because of the rewards, but because he’s doing “big boy stuff”.
The chore chart is in a location easy for him to reach. Every night I reset it and the next morning he comes down and takes a look. There’s a row for morning chores, one for afternoon chores, and a third row for “earning” chores. Each of the chores is represented by a small card that has a picture and word description on one side and a star on the other. There is a piece of velcro on both sides of the card to attach it to the chart. When he finishes a chore, he flips it over! Which leads me to what he earns…
I’d heard of kids being rewarded for good behaviors with stickers, treats, or filling up a jar with things like marbles or even little rubber snakes or toys. This is what we did: We went to the dollar store and got some craft pom poms. I took a plain vase I had around the house, tied a red pipe cleaner to the top (as a fill mark) and put a basket full of the pom poms next to it. We started calling them “warm fuzzies” – it makes Jaron happy, but I gotta say it’s a weird thing to add to your daily vocabulary!
Jaron gets to add a warm fuzzy to the jar every time he does something good:
- He recites his memory verse
- He stops begging right away when we ask
- He stops whining right away when we ask, or handles a “no” without whining
- Says “yes Mommy” or “yes Daddy” without prompting
- Says “please” without prompting (he has thank you down pat)
- Does one of his “earning” chores
- Does something remarkably kind for Samantha or handles conflict without physical aggression
- Whatever else seems worthy to us at the time
He has to move a warm fuzzy back to the basket when he does something bad:
- He doesn’t complete a regular chore for the day (and it was is in control to finish it)
- He begs
- He whines
- He throws a fit
- He’s disobedient or disrespectful to us
- Is unkind to Samantha
- He throws things he’s not supposed to
Your kids do these things sometimes too, right? 😉
When the warm fuzzies fill the jar, he gets to pick a movie to watch. We did also establish a movie Friday where we pick an “educational” movie to watch. This coming week will be Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. 🙂 But that’s all the tv he gets. So far it’s working well for all of us. If he wants to buy some special (albiet cheap) toy or other treat, he can choose that instead of his special movie.
We also added a simplified version in the car. It was too hard to deal with the warm fuzzy system when the jar and the pompoms were at home. We have a parking tag hanging from our rearview mirror for church (for family parking), so we took three big colorful paper clips and put them in a cup holder. When he does something good, we add one to the tag. When he does something bad, we take one away. When he earns three, he gets to use his phone during the next car trip. That is also working well for us.
Keep in mind, we’re not replacing any of our current discipline standards. This is just a supplement. We still have “consequences” especially for things like hitting, direct disobedience, and a couple of other things we’ve flagged as a super big deal. Only time will tell if this positive rewards system will hold his interest long enough.
A friend of mine told me today that he heard that random rewards for good behavior were often more effective than scheduled ones. That makes some sense, so we’ll probably do it by suddenly deciding reward a particularly good day by going for ice cream, a trip to the dollar store to pick out a toy, a surprise trip to see his cousin, or something like that. Jaron would love that and it would be fun for us too.
To make the chart:
- Go here and download and print the chart(s) you want. Print out the card pages as well.
- Stick stars on the back sides of the cards. I forgot to do this and did it after laminating and they kind of catch at the sticker edges sometimes.
- Laminate the charts and card pages. Cut the cards out.
- Put velcro on either side of the card and on the chart so the child can easily flip and attach when needed.
Hope this information is useful for someone out there! 😀