July 6th, 2009

Leaps and Bounds Responsibility Chart

About a year ago, Elise’s behavior – what with the whining, insolence, and other uncivilized acts of mutiny – was getting us concerned.  A couple of times, we even looked up the numbers for priests who might be willing to perform an exorcism.

A friend gave me two words: STAR CHART. Make a star chart with some key behaviors, including a couple of give-me’s and a couple of reaches, and then Get! All! Jazzed! About! Earning! Stars! Yay! When they’ve gotten a certain amount of stars, they get a prize. This kind of positive reinforcement really worked for my friend and her possessed daughter. Desperate me was in the arts and crafts store within the hour.

I made a homemade chart out of construction paper, markers, and glitter glue. It did help. Temporarily. But, the star stickers kept falling off.  And it looked, well, it looked like the kind of art project elbow macaroni might be glued onto. It failed to motivate either of us.

Then, I came across the Leaps and Bounds Responsibility Chart. This thing is amazing. First of all, it is beautiful and well-made.  I mean, hello, it is embroidered. Taking it out of the box, we all gathered around and oohed and ahhed. There are columns for every day of the week and rows where you can select 5 tasks each day. There are pre-made stick-on task tags (Velcro) with such tasks like: try not to whine, dress myself, set the table, etc. There are shiny stick-on gold fabric stars. And, there are reward tags with pre-made rewards like:  a new book, go out for a treat, rent a dvd or go out to a movie, etc. It also comes with many blank tags where you can write your own rewards or tasks. (We created a “Sleep all night by self” tag—a.k.a. “Don’t bug us while we’re sleeping.”)

This chart is a much better motivator than my hand-made broken one. Elise can’t wait for the time at the end of the day when we see which stars she’s earned.  She has even gotten all five stars a few days which makes her glow with pride and throw her arms around my neck: this alone is worth it! Not to mention I believe it’s been a big factor in her sleeping through the night by herself again, which makes this chart worth its weight in gold. 

You can even get this chart personalized with a child’s name (although we got it without the personalization in anticipation of using it for Luke’s exorcism years.)

It goes for around $30, which could buy a whole lot of construction paper, markers and glitter glue. But, if you are looking for a serious positive reinforcement, good behavior motivator, this is definitely worth looking into. Love it.

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This Weeks Tip

When, like Becca, you make a week’s worth of “HotDish” (pasta bake) you’re going to need someplace to store it. But we all know what that red sauce will do to your plastic containers. We assume that if you wanted orange containers, you would have bought them that way. So try this: spray your containers with cooking spray before you load up the leftovers. No more stains!