Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Accountable Kids!

Well, after a summer of complete chaos as we moved from one hotel or spare bedroom to another for three months, we have moved into a new house for the next four months. The kids had been getting out of bed several times each evening and pushing boundaries in all sorts of ways, and I felt a desperate need to get the household back under control. So I pounced on a system a friend told me about called Accountable Kids. You can read about it at

I'm sold. This has been a great investment for our family. It's not just a chore chart (which we have tried before without much success). The kids have reminder cards hanging on the first peg, telling them what their responsibilities of the day are, in order. When they finish something, they hang it on the second peg. The third peg is for tickets (of which they get three a day, one each for morning, afternoon and evening responsibilities completed), Best Behavior cards (special cards given randomly when they do something especially thoughtful or responsible), and Privilege Passes (given for conquering some specific bad habit we're working on). The fourth peg is for Date Night cards, and they get a star for each day that they don't lose any tickets. The fifth and final peg is for extra responsibilities they can earn money for doing.

Not only is it helping the kids to realize that they are responsible members of the family, but it also is helping them to recognize limits. It's done magic in getting them to go to bed and stay in bed, and we are hardly ever watching DVDs anymore (since they have to pay the tickets they earn if they want to watch something).

I realize that much of the benefit of the program is its ability to keep me accountable. When the card is staring me in the face each morning reminding me that it's time to have worship with the kids, it's hard to just dismiss it for later, which often meant we would forget about morning worship altogether. And I realized that I have often reminded the kids over and over to do something until I get frustrated. Now, instead of having to tell them again and again, I just tell them they have to do it anyway, but they have lost a ticket. Our house is cleaner, the kids are more obedient, and we are enforcing Biblical principles (such as if a person doesn't pick up their toys, they don't get to eat until it's done). Of course, their jobs are small, but I don't want to wait until they are older to instill in them a sense of responsibility. This has been a terrific blessing to our family, and it's going to be very helpful in our homeschooling too!

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