Teaching Your Kids Accountability With a Simple Chart
With Minimal Effort and Great Results
I Have Had Enough
As soon as summer started, I felt like all I did was remind my kids to pick up after themselves. Some days, I didn’t even ask them to pick up their own stuff, because, it was just easier if I did it. I was getting frustrated and started taking it out on my kids. “I am not you maid,” I would yell. “Why can’t you just pick up after yourself?” I would ask. No matter what I did, nothing worked. So I sat down at my computer, one night, and decided to create a chart that would put the accountability, back on them.
How To Use The Chart
Each week my children get $5 for completing all of their chores. They love to get their allowance, so I knew that I had to create a chart that incorporated the $5. So I came up with a simple tab chart. For each item in the house that I have to pick up, that is theirs, I will remove one tab. For example, if my youngest daughter leaves her cereal bowl out from breakfast and I have to pick it up. I then remove one tab from her chart, because I had to pick up her cereal bowl.
Each tab is worth 25 cents. There are 20 tabs altogether, which equals $5. If you would rather make each tab worth 10 cents you can do that too. Whatever amount of money that you would like to put on each tab, you can do so. I have left the tabs blank. So, on Monday each week, I print out a new chart for each kid. I have them put their name and date on their own chart. Then I write 25 ¢ on each tab. Finally, the chart gets hung on the refrigerator, where everyone can see it easily.
On Saturday, I have each child grab their chart and meet at the kitchen table with it (we do not do the chart on Sundays). We discuss how many tabs that they have lost and why. Then I have them tell me one way that they could do a better job next week. For example, my youngest son has a hard time remembering to pick up his toys when he is done with them. So this is the one area that he would need to work on the next week. My older kids tally up how much money that I owe them. Then I give each child their allowance for the week and it goes into their piggy bank. Some of their money is for giving, some is for saving and the rest they can spend.
Tips and Tricks
The first week that I used the chart, I kept reminding the kids to pick up after themselves. I didn’t want them to lose too many tabs. What I didn’t realize was that I was the one that was still holding them accountable. I wasn’t letting them learn that they are accountable for their own actions. That they needed to remember on their own, to pick up after themselves. Once, I stopped reminding them that they needed to pick up their own stuff, they started doing it on their own. What a difference it made for me, feeling like I could relax more and let the chart teach them accountability.
Every time that I have to pick up something that is theirs, I have the child go with me to their chart, and watch me pull off a tab. It is a reminder to them that because of their own forgetfulness, they lost a tab. Trust me, they do not like to see you pull a tab off of their chart. This is a great reminder for them to pick up after their self more.
When they are doing a great job at picking up after themselves for awhile, and it seems like they do not need the chart anymore, this is when you can change the chart up. Maybe now, they are not using kind words towards their siblings? Maybe they need to work on listening to you the first time? You can change the chart and use it for a different problem area. So now instead of losing a tab for forgetting to pick up something that is theirs, maybe they lose a tag because they hit their sister, or yelled at someone, or did not listen to you the first time. The chart should never be used for more than one problem area at a time. This allows them to master one area of their life first, before moving on to something else. If you notice that a problem that you have already worked on is coming back, then just use the chart for that problem area again. We all need reminders in our lives that help us to fix something that we are doing.
Good luck!! Have fun with this and remember, relax and let the chart do the work.