By now, I think every parent I know online has seen the “Congratulations You Got Grounded” chart that’s been making the rounds on Facebook. Lots of us were like, “OMG that’s awesome!” Others were like, “What a terrible idea!” What I found was an opportunity to adapt it for our own use after reviewing a recent report card that was fine as far as grades, but had some concerns regarding work habits and social growth.
One of the main issues (that we’d already been lamenting at home) was annoyance noises. TJ will sing, hum, and “make unnecessary noises” that have been “distracting to hid peers.” So now, the irritating sounds we’ve been hounding him about at home are being disruptive in the classroom. I needed a way to make his reminders (“Stop clicking your tongue like that!” “Stop that horrible low whistle!” “Bring that down an octave!”) stick in his mind so that he can stop making the noises before he even starts. Aside from that, we need to help him improve his ability to listen attentively, follow directions, follow classroom rules, control his emotions, and accept responsibility.
So now I have a behavioral point chart that comes with extra chores to help reinforce what we’re trying to do here. TJ loses points for the behaviors we want to discourage, and once he reaches the 15 point mark, he loses his electronics until he works off the points with one of the activities (mostly chores). At this point in time, it doesn’t make sense to ground him from playing outside with his friends – fresh air and exercise are good. But taking away the laptop, 3DS, etc. is highly effective motivation.
Here’s the chart in both graphic form and text form:
|Annoyance noises||1 pt each time we have to say something to you.|
|Not listening/following directions||5 pts.|
|Not bringing home your homework||15 pts.|
|…and it can’t be printed out at home||25 pts.|
|Lying to us (but then admitting the truth)||5 pts.|
|Lying to us, but we find out before you confess||20+ pts.|
|Throwing/destroying things in anger||25+ pts.|
|Talking back/being rude/being mean||5-20 pts.|
|Being more than 5 minutes late||5 pts.|
|Sneaking food||10+ pts.|
|Not turning off lights, TV, radio, etc.||5 pts per room.|
|Making a “big deal” out of a “little deal”||5 pts.|
|Other offenses||Will be decided as necessary.|
|Activity (without complaining!)||Points Gained|
|Do the homework we had to print at home||10 pts.|
|Scrub the 3 bathroom sinks clean||20 pts.|
|Sort all the clean laundry into piles||15 pts.|
|…and put all your underwear in your drawer||5 pts.|
|…and match all your socks properly||10 pts.|
|…and match all of our socks properly||15 pts.|
|Write a paragraph about what you did wrong||10 pts.|
|Put away clean silverware from dishwasher||5 pts.|
|Clean all downstairs windows||10 pts.|
|Clean all upstairs windows||10 pts.|
|Wipe down the outsides of all 3 toilets||25 pts.|
|10 minutes of running/biking on Wii Fit||10 pts.|
|Make the living room vacuumable (weekday)||15 pts.|
|Make your bookcase neat||10 pts.|
|Clean all the doorknobs||10 pts.|
|Take out trash or recyclables||5 pts per bag.|
|Pull weeds out back||15+ pts.|
|Scrub the living room tiles||15 pts.|
|Dust||10 pts per room.|
Obviously, you’d want to adapt the points lost/behaviors for whatever it is you want your child to work on, and the same thing with the activities they can do to work off the points they lose.
For example, TJ has forgotten to bring home his homework way too many times, and he began to rely on the fact that I could find a digital version of his workbook to print the sheets from home. So I made the points for forgetting his homework 15 – instant loss of electronics – but doing the homework after I print it out only regains 10 points. He still has a 5 point deficit to account for, as incentive to be responsible and actually remember to bring home his homework. (I don’t accept “I already finished it” as an excuse either. I want to review his work each day.)
I also needed to come up with an approach to dealing with lying in a manner that doesn’t just excuse a lie if he later fesses up, but I also didn’t want him to have no incentive to come clean on his own. So lying but then fessing up is a minor infraction, but lying and having us find out about it on our own is major trouble.
For other “offenses,” TJ recently got a watch to help him keep track of time, which he is terrible at. We had an issue where he was at a neighbor’s house playing one night, but he didn’t come home at the agreed upon time, and though I knew the name of the friend, I didn’t know which house they lived in. He was over 30 minutes late, and dinner was ready. Tom and I ate before he went out and hunted for TJ. (He’s no longer allowed to go inside friend’s houses, just play outside so he can hear us when we call for him to come in.) So now, when I give him a time to come home, he has a 5-minute grace period before he loses points.
And sneaking food is to deal with concerns the pediatrician had last month after TJ’s BMI spiked. The spike correlates with the time period when TJ started getting his own breakfast each morning. We know he’s a growing boy, but he’d leave four string cheese wrappers (instead of the one he’s allowed) in the garbage on top of whatever else he ate for breakfast – that sort of thing. The necessary activity for working off those points is running or cycling on the Wii Fit. I had to specify the aerobic activities, because otherwise he likes to choose the games that don’t require much effort. (I waived the requirement last weekend when he proceeded to play outside for three hours before dinner.)
Feel free to adapt the chart to suit your own needs. If you post your adaptation, I’d love a link back. 🙂