Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Behavior chart

So my mom's wish came true and I now have a child that is just as crazy as I was.  Jackson is my little mini me in every way, shape, and form.  The poor baby looks just like I did at his age (but with gorgeous blond hair), he's a super picky eater just like I was (but way worse than I was- even my mom agrees that he's even picker than I was), and he has more attitude than a room full of teenagers.  BUT he also has my good stuff too- he's very neat and orderly, he's very independent  he's VERY smart, and he's a fantastic little helper.  I recently attended his end of the year parent/teacher conference with Mrs. Kennedy, his preschool teacher.  The first thing she said to me (as all teachers do, I'm sure) was how much she enjoys Jackson because he's the sweetest little boy.  I was a little taken back, thinking she got us mixed up with some other little boy's parents because Jackson has had to talk to the school's director about his attitude problem on a few occasions, he's yelled at an aide, and he's not been a great listener, so I said, "Jackson?".  She laughed and assured me she was talking about Jackson and then she said, "Listen, mom, Jackson's personality is very strong, but when he's older no one will convince him to do anything he doesn't want to.  He's not a follower, he's a leader, and in the end he wins".  Her perspective was wise and very enlightening to me.  He is a leader.  He is not easily convinced to do something he doesn't want to.  All traits that will be extremely beneficial to him later in life.  How grateful I am for this new perspective on his strong-willed personality because this mama is tired.  Tired of fighting parenting my strong-willed boy who is just like me.

Jackson responds REALLY well to the chore chart.  I have had some criticism about the chore chart.  Mostly, other parents wonder why things like getting dressed and brushing teeth is on a chore chart.  Why would I pay my children to do things that are necessary?  Well, it's because Jackson used to take 30 minutes to get dressed in the morning while crying and whining the whole time and I was losing my mind!  I saw a few ideas for chore charts on Pinterest and I wondered if making a chart of daily chores or goals would help him be a little faster.  Plus, I wanted to teach him about tithing and such so that's why I pay them for chores at this age.  I don't know that they'll be paid later for daily chores, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  So, yeah, I pay my children to get dressed and brush their teeth, but guess what?  They make their beds (Jackson does it by himself), get dressed, and brush their teeth in 10 minutes every. single. morning.  And then they proudly run to the chore chart and move their magnets to the "done" spot.  No fighting.  They do it cheerfully.  And my sanity is saved.

So I thought, maybe, just maybe a behavior chart would work for Jackson as well.  Maybe it would give him something to work toward, like his chores.  I was hesitant to use a behavior chart because the consequences aren't related to the behavior.  I realize real discipline teaches corrected behavior in the moment.  For instance, if they decided not to do their chores and I have to do them then they have to pay me TWO nickels.  The consequence has a direct relationship to the behavior.  Ideally, that is the best way to discipline.  I agree.  However, realistically, I am not that creative and I am TERRIBLE at thinking of discipline that fits the behavior so I often just get super frustrated and end up sending him to his room for a time-out anyway.  So I decided, why not??  I realized I am yelling.  A lot.  I don't yell.  I don't like yelling.  And I don't want to be that kind of mom, so I needed to try something.  Here's my newest plan-

The Behavior Chart

I wanted there to be just as many rewards as there were consequences.  And, frankly, we have 8,364,574,546,547 stickers in this house that need a purpose.

Most of the charts we saw online were for the classroom or they said something like "Daddy's Choice" or "Mommy's Choice" for punishment, but we always send them to time out, so that didn't work for us.  I made a custom chart to fit our needs.

The boys can move up and down the chart all day long, so all day long I hear, "I'm making good decisions!  Can I move up my chart?" or "If I do (such and such) then I'll have to move down my chart".  Moving down the chart is more of a punishment for Jackson than anything else we use.  He does NOT want to go down his chart and will often beg us to not make him move his name down.  I strongly believe seeing where his behavior gets him throughout the day and physically moving himself up and down the chart allows him to understand the cause and effect of his behavior; and I wasn't able to do that for him.  Austin is on the chart because Jackson is on the chart and what you do for one child you must do for the other child.  He doesn't really get it, so we usually just move him up and down with his brother because usually they're making the same choices (good or bad) together.

IF they end their day at the top of the behavior chart then they get a grab bag ticket.  5 grab bag tickets wins you a grab bag toy.  I just went to the dollar store and bought a few toys to put in the grab bag.  The boys have already earned 2 grab bag toys each!  Here's the grab bag ticket chart-


And this is what our fridge looks like with our charts.  They are wonderful additions to the running of our home.  And they help Jackson and me to not lose our minds out of frustration with one another.  Win/win!


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