Personalized Picture Chart
Whenever I need a new idea in the area of behavior modification and job charts, I usually brainstorm with my Mom. She was the best at implementing chore charts and behavior modification methods. My parents regularly came up with new ways to motivate, reward, and discipline. The method that lasted the longest growing up was her job cards.
Chores are what we do because we are part of a family. No one pays Me, the Mommy for making dinner every night or doing never-ending laundry. So I do not monetarily reward my children for doing basic chores and responsibilities. Of course I praise them verbally for their obedience, when they do jobs happily, when they help each other, etc. But being a member of this family requires helping out “just because.” Nothing in life comes for free and I don’t want my kids to feel entitled to anything. To pay a child for everything would give them a very warped sense of reality. We do lots of things in life that no one pays us for, and the earlier they can learn that, the better.
Each child is assigned a different color of index card. Using a small plastic recipe holder with dividers for each day of the week, decide on what chores should be done by each child for each day. In the back of the recipe holder, title one divider “complete.” This is where they will place their completed cards.
I will use Averie as an example. For non-reading children, it is best to use cards with pictures.
Click here to download my cards.
Each Day Averie will have a card for Routine*, Empty Dishwasher, 20 Minute Reading, Piano Practice and Set Dinner Table.
*Routine includes: getting dressed & PJs put away, making bed, clear breakfast table, brushing teeth & wiping face, hair done, cleaning room, saying prayers.
“Money Makers” Cards- Can be done to earn privileges or money. When kids want money, tell them to go look in the Money Maker divider.
I am not a parent who will only use positive reinforcement for behavior modification. This child-centered philosophy is definitely new to our generation and in a way, I believe it is crippling the next generation. In real life, the consequences of bad behavior and choices will always result in negative consequences. My job is to prepare my children to be independent and survive in the real world. I have no problem taking away privileges, making my children uncomfortable and sad because of their poor behavior, or taking away "Helper Tokens!”
Ann Landers had wise advice: “In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
Our children will get their best feelings of self-confidence from being independent and capable. Over time our children will learn to make themselves happy. This is the true test of a good parent.
For motivation, we use Helper Tokens. I don’t call these an “allowance” because (to me) an allowance is something that you don’t have to work for. I use counting chips (found at Staples) as the equivalent to money for Averie (10 cents per chip). For the two little ones, they will use their tokens to purchase a prize.
Here’s how they work: On Monday, Averie begins with 15 tokens ($6 for the month because she is 6, divided by 4 weeks in a month= $1.50 each week, or 15 tokens).
Another reason why I would not consider this system an allowance is because these poker chips may be taken away for various reasons. Reasons include back talking, sassing, complaining about chores, fighting with siblings, disobeying, refusing to do chores, etc. In addition, I am not their maid so if I have to do one of their chores, then I expect payment for that service.
At the end of each week and after paying her tithing, Averie is given money for what is left of her Helper Tokens. She may also use her tokens to purchase items in our “Helper Store.” Kempton and Brenna receive their chips for the Helper Store.
Earning Free Time w/Tokens
Tokens are a common job chart that I have seen many households use. But I don't feel good about making my kids earn tokens for things such as TV time or any activity that should be counted as free time. As long as children are finishing their responsibilities and getting enough fresh air and play time, free time is theirs! After all, I don’t have to earn my free time! We limit TV time to about an hour each day and some days we don’t turn on the TV, but I've never been extreme in this area.
Helper Store- Treats, bubbles, stickers, chalk, Dollar Store stuff, an occasional larger item (I bought each of them sunglasses), ice cream cone, etc.
Here's a few other great ideas coming from my Mom, Melva.
If there are toys left out after the kids are in bed, I gather them up and put them in the “gunny sack.” They can earn them back by doing Money Maker Chores or by paying me in tokens.
My mom used to randomly do room and drawer checks while we were at school. If our rooms or drawers were neat and tidy, there would be a candy bar sitting on our bed or in our drawer. This works really well for little kids too, definitely positive reinforcement. Just as a side note, I am not a parent who believes in room and drawer privacy for my children and future teenagers. My job is to protect them and anything they want to hide from me is not going to be a good thing.