Monday, March 2, 2015

Yes/No Sticker Charts

Both girls just went through a phase (a very loooong phase) of telling Ben and I "no" when we asked them to do...just about anything. Put on their shoes, wait for us before heading outside, eat dinner, pick a story for bedtime, you name it. I'm pretty sure they never even heard the end of the request before deciding they weren't going to do it. There were lots of power struggles, lots of yelling, lots of threats and consequences and it seemed like the more consequences we gave the angrier the girls got and the more they'd tell us "no" and refuse to obey. It was quite ridiculous. 

About a month ago, I came up with a new system. I printed out a sticker chart with each of the girls' names on them. There are 25 spaces for the stickers. I laminated them with clear contact paper and stuck them on the wall. I told them every time I asked them to do something (or to NOT do something) and they responded with a happy attitude, "Yes, Mom" or "okay, Mom", I'd put a sticker on their chart. If they answered "no", I'd immediately walk over and take a sticker off their chart. No yelling. No threats. Just calmly walked over and removed a sticker. And OH how they HATE losing a sticker. SCREAMS and WAILS and "I meant to say YEEEEESSSS MOOOOOM please PUT THE STICKER BACK ON!!!!" They lost an awful lot of stickers the first few days, but I also gave them tons of stickers for even the slightest amount of cooperation. And just like magic, the "n" word completely disappeared from their less than a week! After that, the worst they'll say is, "No...I mean YES!" and run over to their sticker chart to make sure I hadn't removed one yet. 

They pretty consistently fill up their charts about once a week. When their charts are full, I give them a dollar. They like to pick out toys at the Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar, so it's a pretty easy way for them to understand the concept of the dollar. For them, $1 equals one toy, so that dollar is VERY valuable to them. It is plenty of motivation for them to try to keep those stickers on their charts! 

Lately since "no" has completely disappeared, I've been taking a sticker off for arguing with me, or fighting with each other, or plain being mean...grabbing a toy, smacking, or whatever. And adding stickers whenever I see them doing something kind. Sacrificing a special toy for the other person, helping me make dinner or clean up, getting ready to go somewhere or get ready for bed helpfully instead of whining or having to be reminded 17 times. I'm sure the novelty of the charts will wear off someday and I'll have to come up with something else, but this is a very effective system for now. Eventually it may evolve into a chore chart, where they get stickers for completing daily chores but they can still lose them for disobeying or having a bad attitude. There is lots of potential here, and I'm so relieved to have found an effective way to motivate the girls to be respectful and kind for now.

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