Thursday, February 26, 2009

Charts Charts Charts

This morning Abe showed me a little behavior chart in a Bernstein Bears book that he thought we might want to try. It basically listed certain behavioral offenses and what the associated punishment would be. For example: Hitting – Sweep the floor. “Sure,” I said, “We could make a chart like that for family night.” And then I began thinking just how many charts we have had during the short span of our child rearing years. There have been chore charts and posters and jars for filling with good behavior beans. There have been treat boxes and potty charts and everything in between (those last two lines totally sounded like a Dr. Sues poem. If I was feeling adventurous I'd continue this whole post in that vein, but I am not).

I don't know why we have been so fickle with our charting. They start out strong and eventually lose steam. I won't say they have done no good. They have. We have had bouts of success with various things such as trying different foods, being unselfish, finishing daily chores. Occasionally they have curbed some poor behavior before it got too out of control. But in the end, they all sit and sit unused and are eventually tossed out.

Our most recent “chart” was me saying that I was now giving them points for each time they did something (like get dressed) the first time I asked. It worked wonderfully for about two days – kids were running to brush their teeth or put away their pajamas before I could even think to ask again. Eventually, however, the fact that points were neither being recorded nor rewarded seemed to halt the momentum we'd been gaining.

Another one that faired mediocre at best was the cup for beans. Every time they were unselfish and let the other person have their way I would add a bean to the cup – when it was filled they'd get a trip to the dollar store. It too started out great with Daisy insisting Goldie sit where she wanted, and Goldie happily handing over toys to Daisy, etc. Unfortunately no one reckoned on just how many hundreds of beans it would take to ever fill that darn cup and so, about an eighth of the way full it too lost its novelty. If it was going to be ten years before the dollar store anyway, may as well selfishly get what you wanted once in awhile.

Anyway, I am totally making this new chart with my kids come Monday night. They will love it, and for about three days I am going to have some really good kids or else a whole lot of cleaning done. I love a good chart.

6 comments:

Tia Juana said...

Ah yes. Charts. Very good observations and I don't think you are alone. While the charts are usually a godsend to keep the young ones focused, it is usually I who fail miserably at keeping everyone focused on the chart. What I have found is that any 'system' where the kids have to do the record keeping or the deciding, usually lasts longer - thus eliminating my follies to come in between them and their success. Oh, charts!

Mandy said...

that's great. i know just how that is. we have charts for doing something the first time, but i realized it wasn't really working when cole looked at me and said, "i don't really care if i get any more stickers." hmm ... so much for charts. :) good luck with yours ... we may try another one another day.

Jill said...

I am afraid that particular chart might not be good for me. I would have to keep myself from egging on fights between my kids to get the floors swept, dishes done, garbage out, etc. It could end in total disaster! You are probably much more self controlled though and can handle the chart like an adult.

Nancy said...

Ha ha Jill, I laughed at your sabotaging your kids own good behavior so you could give the cleaning punishments out.

Jame, Cole is way too smart to figure that stickers on a chart just aren't that exciting. I knew Mandy had to be you because I knew your sister was named Mandy and for some reason people are always commenting on my posts with the wrong names trying ever so hard to confuse me. I'm getting smart though now.

Perla said...

i look forward to hearing how this one goes. i have had pretty much the same problem with charts and systems working great for 2 days. the only one that has kept up well is our allowance chart--the one with 8 quarters and marking quarters off for bad behavior. not that we don't have plenty of bad behavior, but it continues to work for g to get ready for school in the morning with out a fuss and a few other specific problems i was dealing with.

Krista said...

Charts....yeah. I tried and failed at those too. My kids really like earning poker chips and after so many they could $ worth at the store. They still talk about them once in awhile.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...