Disclaimer: This isn’t your typical “Marketing Automation Tips & Tricks” Post, but if you’re a Parent to a little kid or two, you might find something helpful here. Keep reading.
Lately we’ve been struggling *BIG TIME* with the approach we were using for discipline and responsibilities around the house for Cara Mia. None of us were on the same page, and it lended itself to a lot of ambiguity when I’d try to enforce rules without ever really explaining them in the first place (or having them written down!).
Finally I decided to take to the ole Pinterest and Google and research what other parents had found useful and helpful in reining in their kids’ behavior because I just couldn’t deal with the stress and disorganization that was happening as a result of not having clear family communication and guidelines.
After hours of pouring over countless articles from every website between Parents.com and a ton of really awesome Mommy Blogs, here’s what I put together for Cara Mia to help change her behavior and try to teach her more responsibility. So far it’s working great! Here’s the AWESOME article that explains the overall approach we took with rules, consequences, etc.
What Wasn’t Working
We use to follow only the Green, Yellow, Red Card system which was also implemented in her classroom, but it was too confusing for all of us because sometimes an action would get a “yellow card” instead of bad behavior, and that didn’t seem fair to me.
We also weren’t doing a good job enforcing consequences, so a lot of times CM would be like “Well, that’s fine. It’ll be a green card tomorrow.” without any understanding of what the yellow card meant. So, now I’m glad to say that now we all understand the new system, it’s made things so much easier for all of us, we’re all on the same page when it comes to family rules and behavior.
The light bulb clicked when I realized these two key guidelines:
CARDS are for behavior/communication
STARS are for responsibilities/actions
Family rules are posted in the Playroom and in the Kitchen on the Fridge. I have CM read them everyday out loud, and she actually loves that. I do it to reinforce them in her mind during a time when she’s NOT getting in trouble so she begins to understand that they’re there ALL the time to help us have a better relationship with each other, not just to refer back to when she gets in trouble. Talk about a win-win for the whole family. The article above really explains how they’re best used – they seem generic, but they actually great because they’re so generic. ????
Daily Routine & Schedule
CM (like most kids, believe it or not) thrives when she is following a routine or daily schedule. We let things slide on the weekend, and I’d be lying if I said most of that wasn’t for *my* benefit – what parent wants to wake up early on the weekends if the kids will let them sleep?! Anyway, I came up with this simple, flexible schedule and posted it so we could all understand the daily routine. CM is also learning how to tell time, so the little “analog” time graphs help her learn, too. Sneaky! ????
6:30 – Wake up with a smile!
6:45 – Get dressed – shoes too!
7:00 – Eat Breakfast
7:15 – Brush Teeth
7:30 – Out the Door; Off to School
3:15 – Home from School; Change Clothes
3:30 – Healthy Snack
3:45 – Homework – typing too!
4:15 – Playtime
5:00 – Family Time / Dinner
7:00 – Clean up playroom
7:15 – Bath time
7:30 – PJ’s / Brush Teeth
7:45 – Snuggle Time / Bed Time!
If she does of these correctly each day, she gets a STAR in the “I Caught You Being Good” Sticker Book (keep reading…). These things are non-negotiable. They must be done, they don’t get rewarded with a purple card every day, you just do them each day to be responsible. Being responsible (actions) is rewarded with a star at the end of the day.
If she does all of these correctly for 5 days in a week, she gets a PURPLE CARD.
Hubs and I agreed that it was time to start implementing some sort of allowance/chore system, but I didn’t want to come right out of the gate promising a few dollars a week, so I thought it made sense to let CM decide how much she wants to earn each week. I’ll admit, this is the part that’s hardest for me to get use to because I’m very particular when it comes to cleaning (I’m one of those who cleans before the housekeeper comes over…); however, I’m hoping this teaches her how to do things the right way and also how to take initiative for helping keep our home clean and nice. It also doesn’t hurt that a whole week of chores could only end up costing me 1.00! ????
Chore Sticks can also be used as punishment for red card. When used as punishment, no money is given.
Empty Bathroom Trash – 5c
Wipe kitchen cabinets- 5c
Pick up bedroom – 5c
Dust bedroom – 5c
Tidy bookshelf – 5c
Tidy Housekeeping area – 5c
Wipe off bathroom counter – 5c
Empty dishwasher – 5c
Bring dirty towels to laundry – 10c
Water Plants – 10c
Wipe down windows – 10c
Wipe down glass door – 10c
Take out recycling – 10c
“I Caught You Being Good” Sticker Book
I actually got this idea from our Nanny. The book is literally just some construction paper folded together and stapled in the center. CM does so much better with rewards than punishment most of the time. She’s so eager to please, and she really likes collecting stickers and purple cards. I also like the idea of giving her something to look forward to and “save up” for through earning rewards vs. just strictly relying on the financial aspect of “saving”.
She can earn a STAR for good responsible actions throughout the day.
5 stars = Purple Card
5 Purple Cards = Special Trip/Surprise/Special Reward
Behavior Card Chart
I didn’t want to discontinue the color card system entirely because I knew she was still having to follow it at school, but like I mentioned earlier, our house rules needed to be refined. Now, Behavior Cards only reflect behavior.
What gets a green card? Good BEHAVIOR. Making safe, respectful, choices. Having a good attitude.
What gets a yellow card? Level 1 Behavior from the chart; bad behavior/not following family rules. Consequences for Yellow Card – it’s a warning!
– Discuss why card was given
– Explain how to fix behavior
– If the behavior is fixed in a reasonable amount of time, the yellow card can be turned back to a green card. This reinforces that the kid is responsible for her actions and she has the power to change the outcome!
What gets a Red Card? Level 2 Behavior from the chart; getting a yellow card at school.
Consequences for Red Card: I choose a consequence that would be most appropriate from privilege/consequence chart.
Hey, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this unusually long post! I hope you found something helpful here, and I hope you have the same success as we’ve had in our family since we started implementing these responsibility and communication guidelines.
It’s really important for me to teach my kids responsibility & communication because I understand how important these two values are in every stage of life – whether they’re playing on the playground in Kindergarten, working at their first after-school job as a teenager, starting up their own entrepreneurial adventure (awe!) or landing that first “big gig” as an adult one day.
Great News! Free Download!
If you’re sitting there going “Ain’t nobody got time for creating all of this!” think again – Here’s a link to download a PDF I created with a Behavior Card Chart, Privileges/Consequences, and Family Rules to get you started. Hopefully it saves you time and brings a little order and sanity into your house sooner rather than later! :) Let me be frank about one thing. Yes, I have “spanking” as the direst of consequences on the chart. If you don’t agree with spanking your kids, that’s totally fine. Print it out, mark it out with a sharpie and replace it with something that works for your family.
Let me know if you have any questions; I’d also love to hear how the system is working for you or if you have any suggestions that I haven’t mentioned here!