Monday, January 16, 2012

Stuff I Love: Melissa and Doug Responsibility Chart

We've been working hard in our house on discipline lately.  We figured that the boys (at 2.5 and almost 4) are old enough to start doing some chores and learning some self-restraint.  We've been trying to use the Love and Logic approach (using natural consequences, showing empathy instead of anger), but sometimes it's a little hard to get through to them without tangible consequences and (especially) rewards.  My kids are very visual and like being able to see their progress. 

For H's birthday last year, a good friend sent him a Melissa and Doug Responsibility Chart.  He wasn't quite ready for it at the time, but when we got F a matching chart for Christmas and hung them up in the boys' rooms - boy did they get excited!  They love the colorful reward buttons and the bright pictures on the chore magnets.  It's easy for them to see and understand, even though they are not yet able to read.  Every night before bed, we take a few moments with their chart to go over their chores.  If they've completed a task (like getting dressed without a fuss, clearing their dishes from the table or brushing their teeth), they get to put a button up on their chart.  We've added a little extra incentive by starting them on an allowance - every night they complete ALL of their buttons, they receive a shiny new quarter for their tiny piggy banks.  F says he's saving up for a candy bar, though H says he's going to spend his money on a tow truck (I'm hoping he'll settle for a plastic 'Mater).

As you can see, they love their charts.  F is even clapping his hands in excitement as he gets ready to put up his buttons.

We have good days and bad days with the charts.  Some days, the kids don't care about the buttons or the quarters.  And some days, we find those little buttons all over the floor (they lose their quarters for that offense).  But in general, the boys are responding really well to the visual queues and work really hard to make sure they have all their buttons up at the end of the day.  When these chores get to be routine, we can trade them out for new ones.  The set even comes with a couple blank chore magnets so you can write up your own chores if what you need is not included. 

If you're looking for a good way to motivate your kids and get them involved in household chores, this is one tool you definitely need to check out!

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