Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Flexible, Effective Behavior Chart, Part 2 (Much Shorter Than Part 1!)

Part 1 can be found here.

After we used our behavior ladder for a few weeks, I noticed that sometimes I would tell a child to go move up, and they couldn't go anywhere because they were at the top of the chart. I didn't want anyone to miss out on the benefits of good behavior, so I started giving out coupons that said: "'Child's Name', go move yourself up one!" for them to use sometime when they wanted to move up. Then we decided that you could trade in 5 "Move yourself up one" coupons for a "Free Extra Chore" coupon that could be redeemed when someone landed on an extra chore space.

To continue with the learning theme, I looked on the internet and found "play money":  scroll down to find the money with the silhouettes.  Using some computer program (it may have been a word processing document), I copied the 1's, 5's, 10's, and 20's, copied each of my children's faces (the faces assure there will be no problems with anyone stealing anyone else's family dollars) from a digital photo, pasted each face on all of the different denominations of money, and then printed out and laminated the sheets of "money". These "family dollars" replaced our "move up" coupons.  I wanted "play" money because I knew it had numbers on it, and I thought we could work on counting, exchanging, saving vs. spending, limited resources vs. endless wants, etc. (If you don't want to print something out, you could also use 3x5 cards and write numbers in the corners and the child's name in the middle.) Each child is responsible to know where their family dollars are, to encourage learning responsibility/taking care of things that are important to you.

Next, we (the children and I) made a list of different rewards that could be earned by spending family dollars.  At various times, our list has contained:


*Cool pencil/pen (found in the dollar section of some store) 3

*Mummy Kit 4

Free Regular Chore 4

*Balsa wood glider 5

Free Extra Chore 5

*Wagon Kit 6

*Fire extinguisher 10

Art pad 15

Set of "artist" colored pencils 15

Plastic candy cane filled with Hershey's kisses 15

Ice Cream (I fill up 2-cup plastic containers with ice cream and keep them in the freezer for this purpose) 15

How to draw a dragon kit 20
A Day Off (of schoolwork) 30 

A Date with Mom or Dad (usually involves a trip to a certain pizza place that involves games and tokens, but can also be going out to lunch or to get ice cream from the ice cream place) 30

Remote Controlled Helicopter 50

*These were little things I had picked up for the kids, but I had been saving them until I figured out a good way to use them as motivators.

To come up with the ideas for the prizes (other than the toys I already had), I asked the kids what kinds of things they would like to earn, and then we had a lesson on compromising/negotiating as we decided how many family dollars each thing would be worth.

I keep the prizes on a certain cabinet we call the "prize basket" (because the prizes started out in a basket, and then....overflowed).  Something I LOVE about the prize basket is that it gives me a chance to buy things for the kids that they want, that I wouldn't normally buy because I don't want them to think they can have everything they want:  I can put those sorts of things in the prize basket and they can earn them!  This is especially convenient when you want to reward a certain child for consistent good behavior, but you don't want to listen to complaints about parents playing favorites:  the child with good behavior will have the family dollars to buy the prize you picked out for him.  My kids have become accustomed to me buying prizes for the prize basket that can only be bought by a certain child;  I try to make sure I do that more or less equally among all the children.  The prize basket is also a good way to provide children, who generally don't have a lot of real money, with an opportunity to get things for their siblings:  I made a rule that prizes are 50% off if they are bought to be a present for someone else (you would think they would have figured out how to milk this system, but they haven't).

Any questions?

What To Do If Your Child Destroys the Chart


liz said...

This sounds awesome. Truly truly awesome. You should market it!

andrea said...

I really think this sounds awesome. I don't have kids, but I will tell my friends who do. :)

Elsha said...

I love this whole ladder idea! I'm not sure Kalena's old enough yet, but she'll be 4 in May, so probably soon... (She is old enough to understand that certain things cause her to lose privileges.)

PinkieBling said...

You're amazing. Seriously. I am totally using this if/when I have kids.

Emily said...

I absolutely think you should go back to school (you know, in your spare time) and make this your big, messy project. I love this idea. I'm filing it away for when my kids are old enough to get it.

Doing My Best said...

Liz-Thanks! I'm afraid that marketing is not one of my talents =).

Emily-I used to enjoy school, but not so much anymore. Now I prefer learning at home about whatever happens to catch my interest at any given time =)!

Shalini said...

This is only tangentially related, but I just started reading this book about what motivates people called Drive by Daniel Pink and it is TOTALLY FASCINATING (and I usually HATE non-fiction). Thought you might like it given the behavior chart stuff :)

d e v a n said...

Genius!! I love this!

Carolyn said...

Love it love it love it! Can't wait till Nathan is old enough for this kind of thing! :)

Gina said...

I think I might do this! I can really see this working for my oldest, rather quirky, child. Thank you for all the details.

Question, I think that my almost three year old is too young for this, but by the law of younger brothers he will most certainly want his own chart and consequences. How did/do you handle your littler ones if they want to participate too?

Doing My Best said...

Gina--That DID come up with Marie and Joseph as they were old enough to notice the chart and understand that THEY were not on it.

When they would ask, I told them that the chart was for people who were a little older, and that when they were (whatever the age of the youngest person on the chart was), they could be on the chart too. I talked to them about how different people need different things, and that sometimes people need something at a certain age that they don't need at a different age, and tried to point out some of the benefits of being at the age they were then. Every now and then I would let them try a turn on the chart (and they lost interest pretty quickly because they weren't mature enough to really understand it yet)...but mostly, I was just a calm, broken record: "You can be on the chart when you are 5 years old. Yes, that is frustrating, and you can be on the chart when you are 5 years old. I can see how that makes you mad/doesn't seem fair, and you can be on the chart when you are 5 years old...."

Doing My Best said...

Gina--If you DID want to make a chart for your younger one, you could make a simpler one by cutting sheets of paper in half and having green, yellow, and red. You could talk about what the colors mean (green means "Go!" yellow means "Be careful!" red means "Stop!"), the privileges that a person could have, depending on which color they were on, and then tell him when he is exhibiting the certain kinds of behavior. "Picking up your toys is so helpful! Go put yourself on green!" "Saying 'no' when Mom tells you to do something is not a good choice. Move yourself to yellow." "We don't hit when we're angry. Move yourself to red." But I wonder if this still requires the same level of reasoning for the child as the other chart?

There is always the sticker chart (I have OFTEN made charts here because they have pictures of characters my kids like): make some sort of grid with spaces for stickers, he earns a sticker for certain behaviors, and a certain number of stickers earns him a certain prize/activity (or whatever his brother has been earning that he wants to earn too).

Hope this helps =)!

Maura said...

Hmmm. I wonder if I could use this in the classroom. I need a good behavior management system. Well, first I need a teaching job. :-)