Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fuzz Balls & Responsibilities

Before you have kids, you really should be tested and questioned.  There should be a test where you are left to survive on little or no sleep, thrown in a room with about 27 puppies, and expected to make them all sit in a straight line for 4 seconds, all while not raising your voice or losing your temper.  If you pass, you are deemed fit to care for a human life.  If you fail, well, you get to take one of the 27 puppies home to practice. I surely would have failed.  There are some days when I think to myself, "What on earth am I doing??"  Then, there are other days that I step outside of myself and look at my life.  I'm proud of my kiddos and the way they behave.  I credit all of those days to a bag of fuzz balls and a ball mason jar.  Not joking.

My girls have responsibility charts.  I feel that they need to learn that they can not always get everything they want, whenever they want.  I feel that it is my responsibility to teach them that they need to work hard for rewards in life... such as ice cream and chocolate.

Every Sunday, the girls and I sit down and decide which responsibilities they want to work hard on that week.  If during the previous week they weren't 100% successful in a certain area, they need to keep that responsibility on their chart.  Some examples of responsibilities that they have to choose from are, Keep Your Hands to Yourself, Show Respect, Get Dressed, No Whining, Take Care of the Pet, Get Ready for Bed, Say Please and Thank You, etc.  There are also two blank spaces that I can write whatever I feel they need to work on, such as, No Tattling and Go Potty.

When we've decided which responsibilities make the chart for the week, the girls hang them on their walls.

Each night, right before they get into bed, the girls get to put their magnets on for the day.

Just to clarify, I know that my kids are only 2 and 4 years old.  I understand that they sometimes forget things.  Because of this, we have the three strike rule.  Let's say, for example, Jaden has No Whining on her chart.  She could be having a bad day and is whining a lot.  I will give her strike one and remind her that No Whining is on her chart.  Later on, if Jaden is still whiny, I will remind her about the chart and give her strike two.  If she continues to whine, she gets strike three and no magnet for that responsibility.

If in one day, the girls fill up their chart and get a magnet for all seven responsibilities, they get to put a fuzz ball in the jar.  If, like in the example above, they miss a magnet, they get no fuzz ball.

Before the first fuzz ball even lands in the jar, we decide what the reward will be once it is full.  For this jar, the girls decided that they were working toward a trip to YoYo for ice cream (frozen yogurt)!  Once the jar is so full that the fuzz ball pop out, they get their reward!

It takes a few weeks to a month before the jar is filled up.  As mini rewards in between, the girls start the week off with $1.  For every empty space on their chart at the end of the week, they lose a nickle.  This has been a great system and has worked well for us.  The girls know their responsibilities and know what the rewards and consequences are.  What I like most about the charts we have is that the responsibilities have a picture beside them.  The girls know what each of them means, even though they can't yet read.  It's great!  Another plus is the magnets.  Before, we were constantly having to print another chart and buy more stickers.  These are reusable from week to week.  Also, the goals are short-term so the girls are able to get more rewards, resulting in them working harder to earn said rewards!  We love it :o)

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