Ang4him - A Moment in My Life

Share in the struggles, triumphs and laughter of raising three children,
and homeschooling while working full-time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Accountable Kids - The Journey Begins

I have recently started something new with my kids called Accountable Kids.  I'm usually pretty skeptical about programs that say they can "give you a new kid in days" but I have a friend who raved about this and after checking out their website and watching the videos I was impressed.  It is a tool to help parents be consistent while teaching their kids about responsibility and accountability.  It helps to discourage attitudes of entitlement and gives your children a sense of accomplishment as they become part of the family by helping out around the house and are allowed to make choices regarding how they spend their time.  As you implement the different steps they also begin to learn about money and how to manage and make decisions about money they earn.

I decided I would start blogging about our journey in the hopes that someone else may find it helpful, if not at least amusing.

Our Accountable Kids wall.  The top board (mini board) is where the extra tickets and Best Behavior cards hang.  The kids call it "Mommy's board".

Close up of the kid's boards.  Each of them of course chose theirfavorite colors.  Right now for the 1st step we only use the first three pegs.

DAY 1:
(5/11/10)  I finally ordered my stuff the Sunday before Mother's Day and had it by Thursday.  I read the book that comes with it in less than 2 days.  We painted our boards on Mother's Day and started the program this last Tuesday.  I won't go into tons of details right now because if you are interested you can visit the website and watch the videos for an overview.  Also, I will be doing a blog post review in the next few weeks.  They have a deal that if you blog a review within 45 days you can get a 50% refund!!

Prior to the first day I had talked to all three kids about the first phase of the program (there are 4 steps that you phase in until you are doing the entire program).  On Tuesday, I walked through each of the kids chores with them.   We went over list of items that you could trade in tickets for and a list of items you can lose tickets for as well.  The first day I did not take any tickets though.  As they did something they were not supposed to I would just tell them "You would have lost a ticket for that." 

The kids all loved being able to move their chore cards from the start peg to the finish peg and loved earning their tickets as they got each grouping of chores done.  Jesse especially loved the tickets.  That night when it came time for the boys to watch some television before bed he actually put a lot of thought into whether or not he really wanted to turn in a ticket for this privilege.  I think he gave me his ticket and then took it back about 3 times before he decided he did want to watch television bad enough to trade in the ticket.  At one point he asked me if he would get his ticket back after he was done watching television.

Before bed I warned the kids that the next day they had to do their chores on their own and we reviewed the rules for losing tickets so they would be ready for the next day.

DAY 2:
(5/12/10)  This was our first day with the kids doing the chores on their own and actually having tickets lost.  Usually in the mornings I'm running around the house like a crazy woman trying to get myself and the kids ready and have everyone out the door on time.  This morning the kids each got up, finished each of their chores (making beds, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc) without me having to say anything to them.  In fact they were done with about 15 minutes to spare and no fighting - they were actually helping each other!  It was amazing!  It was harder to get my dear husband up that morning than all the kids put together.

Jesse informed me today that he did not want to ever lose any tickets so he was going to be "good forever!"

Austin did end up losing three tickets this first day, two before I was even able to get him home after picking him up from the friend who watches him after school.  That night he traded in the one ticket he still had for some time on the computer before bed.  After that he realized his younger brother was still watching television in our room when he went to bed.  He wanted to watch some too, but I reminded him he had to trade a ticket for it and he had no tickets left.  We had a bit of a melt down at that time, but mommy stuck to her guns and made him go to bed.

DAY 3:
(5/13/10)  Enjoyed a second peaceful morning of no raised voices or having to bother the kids to get ready for the day.  In fact, as I was waking up Jesse, Austin got up and stumbled out of his room towards the kitchen.  All of a sudden I heard his stumbling steps stop and then come scurrying back into the room where he proceeded to make his bed.  Without saying a word he finished and headed back into the hallway to move his "make bed" card and then to the kitchen to eat breakfast.

Jesse lost his first ticket today and was devastated.  At first when I asked him why he was having to give me a ticket he gave me a very sad and pathetic face and said "I just don't know."  But we talked it through.  Austin chose to use his tickets for some computer time and a back and foot rub from mommy.  Tyler had been saving up her tickets and was able to watch a couple shows she likes on t.v. as well as spend some time on the computer today.  All three kids are managing their time doing things such as watching television much better now that they have to earn the privilege and are limited on how much they can do it.  And they love that they have choices.

DAY 4:
(5/14/10)  The program warns that after awhile the novelty will wear off and they will begin to test their boundaries to see if mom and dad are going to be consistent and stick to the rules.  I figured it might take a bit more time before this day would hit, but this morning it happened.  The boys did their chores but I had to remind them to check their boards.  They both lost tickets when I had to tell them a second time to not run in the house (one rule for losing tickets is if they have to be told something twice).  We had a little pow wow at the boards and they both acknowledged they understood why they were losing a ticket. 

Then it happened, even with warnings from mom about how their time was running short - Austin did not get all his chores done before it was time to go.  I met all the kids at the boards and Austin still had his toothbrush and toothpaste in his hands.  I hated to be such a stickler but I knew I had to stick to the rules.  He did not have all his chores done in time so he did not earn his ticket this morning.  And to make matters worse, I drove the point home by giving Tyler a "Best Behavior card" for not having to be told or reminded to get her chores done before she started playing and doing other things and because she actually helped her brother with one of his chores (finishing of packing his lunch).  I think this made a pretty big impression on Austin. 

We all discussed again how their chores are their responsibility and mommy should not have to tell them to do it - the board and cards are their reminders.  We also discussed how they should be getting their chores done before they start playing so they make sure they are ready when it is time for everyone to leave. 

I must say though, even with a little bit of testing and the set backs today, things are still so much better than just a week ago.  I'm so amazed at how all three kids are responding to this and how it helps me to be consistent.  The visual reminder of the boards and cards are great.  On Sunday we will introduce the next step and the kids are already excited about that.

I'm curious to see how the weekend goes as this will be our first time having everyone home all day long.  Could be interesting!

3 comments: said...

good blog:))

Renee said...

Do you still use accountable kids? I've been thinking of getting it but am wondering how it holds up in the long term.

Ang said...

Hi Renee,
We are not using this any longer but that is mostly because as the kids have gotten older we have found other ways to motivate them. For example, my daughter is now a teenager and into sports. Her sports and her phone are great motivators.

I found this program worked extremely well for my oldest and youngest. My middle child did not respond quite as well, but that is mostly because he lives in the moment and overall has trouble thinking ahead to consequences. We have to make things pretty immediate with him.

It is definitely a system I liked though and would recommend. You do need to be committed though and consistent. If you are not, it is not going to be as much of a beneft.