Not sure about you, but we have a BAD case of the four-titudes. Like, attitudes, but, by a four year old. This is compounded because her little bro loves to do whatever his big sis does – good or bad. Jon and I have been struggling in the parenting department and just really wonder why there’s no magical stork to drop off the golden handbook on how to decipher these creatures. i’m half kidding.
So we both talked about what wasn’t working and wanted to try something different. I know Aubrey lives for stickers. She and Luke are always coming home from preschool with a few on their shirt for doing something awesome. So we decided to come up with a reward system with stickers. Obviously we’re not creating the wheel at all here.
After school one day, I told them that they had to hurry up and be good listeners cuz we had an adventure to go on! (Seriously, picking them up from school is such a challenge. Neither want to come home with me. WHY????) So we headed to the magical land of stickers & bargain prices (aka, Dollar Tree).
At first I was just going to pick up some sort of poster board to make a chart and stickers. But, I got inspired by this premade Chore Chart and then inspired by the kids (because they were literally grabbing each and every toy they could get their hands on).
Luke’s Sticker & Reward Chart
When I got home, I realized I had a slight problem – my kids can’t read. Writing down the “chores” wouldn’t work. So I had to do my best and draw something simple for them to identify what it was they needed to do. The “chores” are split with their usual morning and night routines. I specifically left out the super challenging routine (Dinner. Seriously – why is eating dinner such an awful torture mechanism we put our kids through?? Again, kidding.) And the bedtime? That’s for them going to bed and staying in bed. No one has earned that yet.
So, obviously they have to complete each task but the sticker reward comes with doing it the first time we ask. The bottom First Time Listener spot is if they were a super awesome listener all day. The post it next to their “chores” is for extra rewards. This is when they do things like be kind to one another, come willingly with me home after school, eat all their dinner, things like that.
So, now for what they inspired me with. The kids really wanted all the toys at Dollar Tree. I told them to pick 3 things and put them in the cart. Luke had some trouble with this and ended up with 4 at one point, but we went through and narrowed it down to his top 3 choices. Aubrey picked her items (one was almost a hummingbird feeder but I told her that’s probably not a great toy to have) and we left. I put the things in the trunk and epic meltdowns occurred.
Aubrey’s Sticker & Reward Chart
When we got home, I broke the news to them that they were not going to play with their new toys. I told them that they can buy them with special tickets! And then the million questions started about how they can get tickets. And where are the tickets. And can they just have the toys? No.
So, we (well, me) decided that if they fill up a day’s worth of “chores” with stickers, they get a ticket. Then they can use the tickets to buy their toys OR save them to go on a super special adventure! They were both pretty excited but I quickly realized by Friday morning that it might take us forever to get them to fill up an entire day of stickers. And I felt that was kind of unfair. So, I added another layer.
Aubrey and Luke have continued to count their stickers they earn each day. Aubrey (at some points) is doing better than Luke. But, in other things, Luke is doing better. So with all this counting I told them whenever they reach 20 stickers, they can get a ticket. By Friday morning (when we left for preschool), Aubrey had her first ticket. Luke is one sticker away. We taped the ticket up on her chart and when she gets 3 tickets, she can buy a toy or keep it towards a bigger adventure. I haven’t figured out how many will get her a big adventure. Any ideas? I know one will be a haircut (she practically begs for one every morning), one will be a trip to Billy Beez, and one to the new Dinosaur exhibit at the LA Zoo.
But, the goal of these charts is to have less yelling (by mom and dad) and less tears (by Aubrey and Luke) and more happy faces around here. It’s only been a few days and I feel like they’re more excited to listen and do things the first time. I just hope this doesn’t wear off!
What are some of your parenting hacks?