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The Behavior Chart

I’ve made an interesting discovery after all these years.  All the yelling and screaming really are ineffective.  And besides, as my husband has told me many many times, I sound like I’m insane when I yell.

He ought to know.

I’ve decided to go with a new tactic after visiting my SIL (Trish) and viewing her new fangled approach to discipline and rewards.  She concocted a number of different colored sheets with various behavior prompts.  At the top was REWARD, while the bottom stated TALK TO DAD.  Each of her children was awarded their own clothes pin, which mom would move up or down according to each child’s daily behavior.

She found this system on Pinterest.  So I knew it was good as gold.  And was working like a charm in her home.

I decided to implement something similar.  But we changed things up a bit, so that each child began at the bottom and progressed throughout the day with good behavior such as completing chores, no bickering, no complaining about school work, and no general homicidal acts inflicted upon a sibling.

We dispensed with the TALK TO DAD wrung, because in Trish’s house, dad is a personal trainer/former body builder and, well, just that alone is enough to instill fear.

Fiddledaddy is neither of those things and besides, he’s generally home all day working anyway, and he gets to talk to the children PLENTY.

Anyhoo.  Cailey helped to come up with the order of things.

I would have placed excellent over terrific, but it’s just semantics.  The gist of the chart is that when and if a child reaches the top, they are awarded a prize of their choosing.  All of my children have chosen 30 minutes on a computer game, which is a prized commodity in our house, since media is the first privilege confiscated when bad behavior enters the fray.

Day 1 was a success.  Everyone was on their very best behavior, and we made it through the entire school day without me having to lock myself in the closet while enjoying an ugly cry.  Well.  That’s not entirely true.  Because once the goal was met and the prize dispensed, it was business as usual and all hell broke free.  Still.  I had a good 8 hours of peace in my valley.

Day 2 (today) did not go as well.

The day began with a needed trip to the library.  Since public school has started, Emme adopted an I don’t want to be seen in public lest anyone think I’m home schooled attitude.  She opted to stay in the van, locking herself in, while I went into the library with her siblings to procure our needed books which I had placed on hold.   When we returned to the van moments later, evidently she pressed some button on the interior door at the same time that her sister was attempting to open another door.  Jensen was positioned in front of the van when THE ALARM BEGAN SCREECHING.  The only way to disable said alarm was for me to dig around in the bowels of my purse for my keys.  In the meanwhile, Jensen has clasped his hands over his ears and is yelling, even louder than the alarm, SHUT-UP SHUT-UP SHUT-UP!  Shut-up is on the forbidden words list in our home, so I suppose it coulda’ been worse.

This event put him in a FANTASTIC mood, and he climbed into the seat behind the driver’s seat.  Which was in fact the seat that Cailey thought she should occupy, because she marched herself around and stood over him hollering MOVE, MOVE, MOVE.

He may have punched her in the throat.  And who could blame him.

It was a proud home schooling moment.

I directed Cailey to take herself back around the van and sit in the other seat.

As you might guess, the middle row became a Punch & Judy show all the way to the thrift store.

That’s right.  Because I’m insane, I decided that I’d just stop in really quickly to check if they had any shelves, which I’m desiring for our home school wall.

Emme skulked inside the store, throwing caution to the wind that anyone might think she was HOME SCHOOLED, because she dearly loves thrift store shopping.

No shelves were found, so I decided to herd my brood out the door before Jensen began breaking priceless heirlooms and tupperware.  Emme was hiding something under her arm, and asked me if she could quickly try something on.  I asked to see it.

She held up a pair of cut off shorts.  At least I think they were shorts.  Because they looked as though someone had lit them on fire and what was hanging from the clips was all that was left of them.

Giving new meaning to the term hot pants.

I told her no, there would be no need to try those on, because she would be allowed to wear them OVER MY COLD HARD DEAD BODY.

The rest of the ride home was really a blur, because of all the screaming.  In my head.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the behavior chart.  Since it was still technically morning, their pins were all in the starting position.  As far as I was concerned, there was no where to go but down.

So this is where I placed their respective clothes pins.

By lunch the clothes pins were in the street and I had run over them with the van.  Several times.

Still.  It’s a good system.  And it came from Pinterest after all.  I have but just a few bugs to work out.

9 Responses to The Behavior Chart

  • Ahh, those systems. . .

    (truly, can’t think of anything else to say)

  • Oh my goodness! What a day! But the clothespins on the floor, that had me laughing out loud…and the visual of you running over them in the street brought my laughter to tears! We start school in our house Monday and I’m bracing myself for the adventure!

  • Surprisingly enough some public schools (lower grades) and daycares use similar charts for behavior. Green is good, yellow is one warning, orange is discussion, and red is bad. Smiley faces or frowny faces may/may not accompany the color chart.

    Love the clothespins on the floor though!

  • I just set up a similar system in my home except I set it up like this: the kids start in the morning on “good job” which is green. The clothespins move up and down all day depending on how the day goes, and if the kid get caught moving it up without my permission then they hve to move it down two spots. I allow the kids to move it up or down rather then me (my kids are about the same ages as yours) because really the thought of having to move it DOWN the chart is almost as excruciating as the consequence. In order from top to bottom here is what mine says: Top three are green color and say Awesome, Super, and Good job. Two yellow are next and say: Oops and WARNING,Chore, and Lose Privilege. Every day they start on Good job as a “clean slate” then move up or down. Let me tell you one of them having to move said clothespin down to extra chore or lose a privilege is a big motivator for them to think twice. Also the extra chore is one of me and my husbands choosing, and the loss of a privilege is also of our choosing. The 10 minutes is they have to head to another part of the house (they are all a bit old for standing in the corner) that we designated a cool down spot to think. Also when I catch them being good they get to move it up. Every time they get to Awesome then they take a ball out of a jar I have on a shelf nearby (I used craft puff balls you could even use cotton balls I suppose) The jars are canning jam size jars so easy to empty fairly quickly, taped to the bottom jar is a mystery prize. Usually a piece of paper with an extra privilege attached to it such as (stay up ten minutes late, bake a cake with mom, pick the friday night family movie, 10 minutes extra computer time etc.) whatever works for your family, it might also be a $1 or $5 dollar bill if I notice they are doing extra good for several weeks. The key is…they don’t know what it is at the bottom so they are motivated to do extra good deeds or be super nice to get to the bottom. 🙂 Works GREAT. I like yours too! Good luck!

    • Awesome, Jen! After reading DeeDee’s post I was thinking that it won’t work if you don’t have consequences attached for bad behavior. And I love your reward system!

  • Thanks for the reality check. We have, um, “less than stellar” days around here, too. Love the comment about the shorts. Just this morning my daughter pointed to an ad for denim shorts and, with the appropriate level of snark said, “Look mom, denim underwear.” She’s nine.

  • In the street you say? I’m impressed you made it as long as you did, you brave brave woman. Punching in the throat is never a good start to the day. Although, in Jensen’s defense, a car alarm going off near one’s head isn’t either.

    We implemented the “Marble Jar” around here. It’s working marvelously. When I remember to use it.

  • I’m re-evaluating the system I use in my PreK classroom. I used something similar to your clip chart last year, except it was a rainbow. Everyone started on green every morning. They could either move to blue or purple for good behavior or to yellow, orange, or red for bad. The problem is keeping up with it for 15 + kids. Not sure what I’m going to do. Your post made me laugh though!

  • “Hot pants” almost made me spit out my wine – but hey it was hard-earned and I’m not wasting a drop! I too have tried a lot of systems and I can’t keep up with them either. I was using a “tick mark for bad behavior” chart, but now I’m doing a pinterest punch card, which I keep on a ring on my purse. If they do something good I give them a punch (which makes me crack up every time I say it to them – “Hey! You get a punch!!!”) and if they earn ten punches they get to have a game of plants vs zombies. Of course, the hole puncher lives on top of the fridge so they can’t get it, and I keep forgetting to bring it with me or to give them punches when we get home… And anyway, the past week (is it a full moon?!) hole punches are not exactly the kind I feel like giving them. So, yeah. My clothespins are on the floor with yours, sister. 🙂