Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I LOVE whiteboards (well, my whiteboard reward chart)

Hi friends,

My 4 year old refuses to be taken in by colourful charts and sticker systems. When we were potty training, he didn’t care about putting stickers on a chart. He is only now beginning to come around when it comes to art and craft projects but they must have a messy component like homemade slime or play dough or must involve cutting and gluing paper.

When he turned 4, I put my foot down and strictly implemented some chores for him. Before, we were loosely involving him in chores. He would do little things like put away his coat and shoes but I believe 4 is a good age to take ownership of a few tasks. I could tell he was tuning me out when I was explaining the importance of having responsibilities and helping out so I came up with a reward system. I got a plain white board and glued some felt circles to plain magnets. Now, he gets a magnet for doing a chore. If he receives a certain number of magnets he gets movie night, a reward etc. We also take away magnets for certain behaviours. This usually helps him check his behaviour because he does not want to miss his rewards. It has happened before and he learnt his lesson.

We have recently been playing with the concept of bonus magnets for doing things that are not on his chore list. He is responding well to that. Sometimes we may have a bigger reared, a new Skylander for example. To get the “big reward” he has to earn more that the usual amount of magnets. He has been finding lots of ways to earn bonus magnets like making my bed (he does a good job for a 4 year old) or helping me fold and put the laundry away. Often, he will offer to help out without me asking. Yay!!!

The one thing I do is give him some flexibility. He has 4 chores and he earns a magnet every time he does one. We tally up magnets on Saturday but he doesn’t have to earn the maximum amount possible to get a reward. There are times when he sleeps over at his grandparents or we deviate from our regular schedule so he does not have the chance to earn his magnets. I do not want to punish him for something he cannot control. He has lots of time to learn life is not fair, when he is older.

I actually have 2 whiteboards in the kitchen, hung one on top of the other on the wall. I usually put up his school calendar and our meal plan (written on the board or sometimes I print out a spreadsheet). I also put invitations or special events there too. The bottom one is reserved for the reward chart. I write his chores and the various reward levels plus the things that will cost him magnets on the board as well. This helps me teach him some responsibility around the house. Once his sister is older, I am going to have to get a little more sophisticated with my system.

Here is my system