Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Charting their success

We've not previously been a "charty" family. There's been a few (feeble) attempts at a stay-in-my-own-bed chart but that's it.
Last week our son requested a job chart so that he could earn pocket money. School. It teaches them so much more than how to read and write...
Okay, I had to think about this one on a few levels.
I haven't ever really been one to make our kids do "jobs". That's not to say they live a hotel-like existence. Or maybe they do. Come to think of it... No, they do a few things like help pack up their toys and the things they ask to do sometimes (sweeping, vacuuming, dusting) and a lot of "jobs" helping mamma in the kitchen and outside with their dadda (gardening, raking, jumping in piles of leaves, etc...).
So, I had to ask my husband, did we want our kids doing "jobs"? After a pros and cons convo we decided having a few set tasks builds responsibility, pride, independence, routine, time management skills and helps mamma out with the morning schedule big time. Everyone wins.
The jobs we have allocated are pretty basic. Cleaning teeth, putting clothes in the laundry, tidying the playroom, taking dishes to the sink. And each of them has their own special job (recycling for our son and helping to fold and put the washing away for our daughter — have we stereotyped too much there?). There's also been a lot of bed-hopping in this house lately and thank goodness they requested a stay-in-bed chart to be tacked on. I think the dollar signs in their eyes produced this one but hey, who am I to argue if I benefit from it too?
Then there was the pocket money thing. We have savings accounts for our kids that we bank into for when they are older and we buy them everything they want need. Sure we talk to them a bit about money and how much things cost and have explained the concept of working for money and saving for things but we hadn't considered giving them their own money yet.
I had to give over the most on this one. Because they don't really want for anything I thought giving them money to do with what they please could turn them into spendthrifts (not to mention the visions of crap toys coming into the house I was having). My husband on the other hand saw the opportunity for some life lessons.
So we've decided to go with pocket money in the hope of teaching them to spend wisely, the value of goods, the need to save up for big ticket items and the difference between quality and crap. And for me we've decided it will be good practice in *gulp* letting go of my control over their every little move. Hey, I still have to drive them to the shops with their bags of coins... do you think they'd believe me if I told them BigW had closed down and the only shop left open was the art store?
Lastly there were the logistics of the whole plan. We thought there was opportunity to build the house rules into the project (you know, "no pushing", "no shouting", "ask first if you want to borrow something", etc...). We really need to move on from the time-outs and I find it easier to discipline if I have a streamline approach. So the set up is that each job earns you a sticker on your chart. But if you break a house rule you will have to put a sad face on a sticker. At the end of the week you count up all the happy stickers and get 20 cents for each one. There's the potential to earn $7 a week. I think that's plenty for a four and five year old. Isn't it?
And the charts. I had visions of embroidered felt boards to hang on their doors with little pockets for them to put reward tags in but you know they want to start this thing now not in 10 years time. Then I tried making something up on the computer but it looked very average so I ended up just drawing them in crayons and getting them laminated so that they can be reused week to week. Cheap and easy. And this way if another idea pops up or this one isn't working we can easily update. At the completion of the making and the beginning of the doing I am looking forward to seeing what choices they make (I think) and encouraging them to develop a healthy attitude and spending and saving. At the very least it's a good opportunity to see if we wield any influence what so ever over our children.
I'd love to hear your tips on this one? Do you use charts in your house? How do you structure it? Is it successful?


Anonymous said...

Great charts. We have a green/red system where our little man gets green dots for good behaviour and doing his chores and red dots for any slip ups. His aim is to stay in the green. If he doesn't he doesn't get to have play dates.

Anonymous said...

We are about to start our first chart for potty training. Because she's only two I will be buying her a little prize for the end of the week if she fills in all her stickers for going potty. Jen x

Ems said...

I think they are a fabulous idea. I would like to start one for our children. What size did you use? I think laminating is a fab idea too!! Ems

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