This year at AFHE Convention I discovered the “Accountable Kids” program.
On that Friday night, I brought the brochure home to show the kids to see what they thought of the idea, checked out their website and watched their videos. Pebbles thought the boards and cards were super cute and said that she couldn’t wait to start decorating her own board !! BamBam just thought …. “huh?! what do those cards mean?”
Picked it up at the convention discount along with their book “Accountable Kids – Raising Accountable Kids One Step at a Time” by Scott W. Heaton, LMFT and Traci S. Heaton. Their tagline is ‘Empowering Children Ages 3-14.’
You can see how the program works in their program below without writing all about it here – what I did want to share with you is what we’ve experienced since using it for a few weeks!
Prior to this program, I really didn’t put much thought into chores. The kids always asked us what they could do around the house – not just asked – begged. Usually I’d be feeling that well, ok, I don’t know…. how about dust – or laundry?! (For lack of creativity, they did a lot of dusting – and loading the washer and dryer.) But more harmfully…. our perfectionism kept inching in hurting their ability to contribute around the home, learn new skills and build their self esteem! (gasp, unloading glassware out of the dishwasher and putting it way up high on that shelf …. cold sweat. ;D) I had tried making my own chore charts before with things that Pebbles wanted to do – but they always fizzled after a week. Now I know why, there was no instant cause and effect …. no reward …no tangible – look what I accomplished today.
At our house, we were struggling with the following – see if any of these sound familiar:
- whining and procrastinating BIG TIME !!!! about piano practice
- WAY too much TV, computer, ipad, ipod, video game time when not doing schoolwork
- piles and piles of both both dirty and clean laundry waiting to get put away
- not enough non-school ‘quality’ special time with Mom or Dad
- too many toys and abundance of ‘stuff’ but perhaps not taking care of these things as they should be
- messy rooms brimming with ‘stuff’ seemingly everywhere and not knowing where to find something when needed quickly
- wanting to teach and instill healthy habits and life skills in both kids – but particularly BamBam who still is stubborn and resistant to MANY things… don’t even get me started there …. that’s a whole other post !!!! 😉
- lazyness, lack of motivation, boredom . . .
- bits and pieces strewn throughout the floor everyday …. we’ve all stepped on them – legos, lincoln logs, matchbox cars, superstructs components….. by night looks like a warzone – then the battle getting these things picked up
- mom and dad feeling overrun – balancing the home upkeep, business, homeschooling
OK! So with that tall order…. the fun began. Pebbles, as I mentioned just was so excited to get decorating. She had a great time with different media, sparkly glue, jewels, glittery stickers etc. BamBam, he didn’t care to paint it amazingly but he did get to pick all the colors and where he wanted them to go, and where he wanted to put his stars. What he DID want to do was help Dad screw them into the wall !! Love the power tools!
The program evolves week by week adding new elements to it do it’s not overwhelming. It’s so easy for them to understand, they have in order, morning cards, afternoon cards and evening cards. They check their board when they get up and they literally BY THEMSELVES see what card is next – they do it – come back flip it upside down on the next peg over. For young kids, this literally is step by step …. feed the dog, make bed, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth ….. then gets into whatever you choose to include – like specific schoolwork, scriptures, pledge of allegiance, organizing your personal items for the day, picking up toys, putting clothes away etc etc… there are DOZENS of cards that you can pick what you think is appropriate for each child. Obviously, I removed shoveling snow…. don’t need that one here. 😉
Once they finish their morning cards – they get a ‘TICKET.’ They can cash that ticket in for a fun reward activity that you all decide in advance requires a ticket and for how long. At our house – we don’t ticket educational or Bible shows or apps – or anything that’s fun and healthy like games, playing outside etc… we only ticket the things we’re trying to reduce – the overabundance of screen time.
I will tell you that they PROUDLY cash in those tickets! And you know what, they enjoy and appreciate it MORE. Most of all they are excited that they earned it. They love being surprised with the ‘BEST BEHAVIOR’ cards – that they can also redeem. After a whole day if all the cards were turned over they earn a star sticker to fill up their ‘SPECIAL DATE CARD’ to go do something with mom or dad just the two of us. Both kids love looking through their assortment of ‘EXTRA CHORE’ cards that are appropriate to their ages – picking one with no suggestion from us – and going for it! If it’s something new, we’ll show them how to do it. But next time – we’ll let them do it on their own, offer helpful suggestions with no pressure, and praise their effort no matter ‘how’ well it was actually done. They love earning ‘BONUS BUCKS’ for these extra chores and at the end of the week, they get real money!
It’s only been 3 weeks now… but here is what I have witnessed and I’m so, so, so amazed and I write this …. with the sound of PIANO MUSIC going on upstairs … yes, piano practice happening with ZERO ASKING on my part !! I could cry.
- yup, already said it – piano practice is happening DAILY with no begging, threats or annoyance by either party
- both kids are self monitoring their responsibilities – they excitedly check their boards in the morning
- no more questions about ‘what should I do now?’
- no more boredom
- no more nagging from mom or dad
- less screen time and sitting around on the sofa or floor
- we can walk on the floor without hurting ourselves at the end of the night
- we don’t stress over mess …. because we know that they will clean up after themselves eventually if they want a new ticket !! 😉
- laundry is getting completely done and put away and they’re having fun doing it
- they love doing their chores and love picking out their own choices
- we don’t have to ask them to do any chores at all !
- they’re earning money and we’ll get into educating them on savings, goals etc. soon
- huge self esteem that they are valuable, contributing members of the family
- they love learning new things; trying out different choices each week
- the kids fight over who feeds the dog …. but ultimately the card says morning= BamBam, evening=Pebbles – fight over. Enough said.
- less arguments in general on who gets to pick what TV show or movie … they take their turns when they redeem their tickets
- they are excited for their special date with mom or dad – and we are too !!!!! Possibilities are endless.
- BamBam is thriving with the clear direction that the cards show and follows it like you wouldn’t believe. I can’t even TOUCH the cards, or reorganize them, or he gets upset. It’s ALL HIM. This kid is brushing his teeth, hair, making his bed, making sure he goes potty… you name it.
- at night they both run to the board and yell “CHART CHECK” to get their star sticker and last ticket for the night – full of happiness and energy
I know there’s more…. but I have to ask myself… are these our kids ?!?! I’m so thankful for this program and also for what it has taught US parents !!! I think that’s the biggest secret right there.
Nothing is perfect however – here are some stumbles we have had: (the book does address any possible situation and how to handle… but I haven’t finished the whole book yet… ;D )
- Pebbles was so over zealous doing chores that she would often pile up her reward tickets… too many to use in one or two days…..
- sickness = we just put the program on hold….. til we’re all feeling better
- had to make a price list for money per chore – kept forgetting what the ‘tickets’ were for !! which tasks, so made a sheet to hang on the refrigerator
- sometimes the tickets redeemed…. aren’t always fair – ie. a whole movie vs one tv show? I don’t know…. call it good. That’s our bad for not being too strict on time….
- does take a firm stance from both parents to not give in …. if you do slip, fresh slate next day.
- supposed to take AWAY tickets for bad behavior … easier said that done – these tickets are like gold to them now and they get very, very, very upset losing one. But I guess that’s the point. Consequences.
Anyway, hope you found this review helpful ! You can check out their website.
** I do NOT get anything in return for this review …. this is my own choice to do this. **
If I review after a years time I might get a discount in their store or something…. we’ll see. 😉 Not much else new to buy there – replacements for then doggy-eared cards ?!? ;D
Here’s their short video about the program works: