Sep 26, 2009

Discipline is a Discipline, part 2

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love my children...

Some days I wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed.  I get out of the shower, get dressed, get my makeup on and am feeling really positive about the day... and then I leave my bedroom... and I meet one of my children in the hall... the short one, with blonde hair, and a HUGE attitude.

"Mommy, I want ba-nilla yogurt and toast."
     Good morning to you, too, my sweet Catherine!
"Mommy, I want ba-nilla yogurt and toast, now."
     That is not a nice way to talk to your mommy.  Try again.

So I walk around her and head to the kitchen to start my coffee... it could be one of THOSE days.
To spite her demands, I begin preparing a breakfast of eggs and toast, I am one of THOSE kind of mommys.

The taller of my two monkey's comes swinging into the kitchen.
"Mommmeeeee!  Good morning!  Can I please have some cereal and yogurt?"
     There is a pause... he did ask sooo nicely... Sure, Ben, go ahead and get your bowl, would you like some eggs and toast?
"No, thanks."

The short one stalks into the room, hands on hips and grabs the handle of the refrigerator...  gets out some vanilla yogurt... and demands "where's my toast?"

  Where did I go wrong?  In all truth, my kids are pretty good...  but I've  had a lot of help, my hubby consistently disciplines them for everything they need to be disciplined for, even when I don't catch it.  
Mostly I think that it was easier to be a parent when they couldn't talk...

Another tool I used for awhile with my kiddos was the behavior chart.  This chart is a great chart for visual kids.  You can simplify it for younger kids, or use it all the way up until middle school and beyond (so I hear... I don't know this, I don't have any kids to try it out on.)

It's a rewards based tool, simply put, when you child does the expected/desired behavior, they get a sticker; if they do not do the desired/expected behavior, they don't get a sticker.  When your child earns a given number of stickers, you give them a reward (inexpensive prize, candy, etc.), if they earn the "grand prize" number, they get a BIG prize (Pizza at Chucky Cheese?  Starbucks date with dad, lunch at Del Taco). See below for an example...

Simply choose the behaviors that you would like to focus on and talk with your child about what is expected and what the reward will be...  at the end you have a contract with expectations clearly explained (for older kids), and something that helps you be consistent to focus on desired behaviors...

It is a very positive tool... I would be really consistent for a few months and then would fall off the wagon and stop using it... this is why the previous Rainbow chart is better for me.  Keeping in mind that little kids really like stickers, this is also why this works well...

You can change the number of behaviors (fewer for younger kids), the number of stickers they get a day (twice a day for younger ones works better), the number of stickers they need to be rewarded (make sure it's not impossible, right at first it's ok for them to earn a reward every other day or so...) and what they earn for getting the stickers.

The chart is easy to make if you have Microsoft Word or you can make one by hand... paper, ruler and pen.
To make one in Word... follow these directions:
1. Open Word, and a new document.

2. Click on the Table and Border's Button...
3. When the Tables and Borders toolbar pops up click on Insert Table

4. When the Insert Table dialog box pops up, say you want 8 columns (1 for the behavior, 7 for the days of the week) and around 10 rows... this one is up to you, if you have a 2 year old, you will probably want 6 rows, for 3 behaviors, 2 stickers a day... 

This is what your document will look like:
5. Now you can resize your columns and rows and add text.
To change the width of your columns, start by hovering your mouse over the column lines, click and drag to start sliding them over to the right, until your far left column is about 2 inches wide.  Then, hover your mouse slightly above the columns and your mouse will turn into a vertical arrow, starting on the second column from the left click and drag to highlight 7 columns.  When highlighted, right click on the highlighted part and when that menu pops up, click "Distribute columns evenly" - Viola' you have one large and 7 small columns!
To change the height of your rows: start by making your table taller... simply hover over the bottom line of your table and click and drag until it is the desired size (down to around the 5" mark will work).  Next highlight the whole table and right click and "distribute rows evenly".  Now you are almost done... now, if you have 2 stickers a day, you might want to have one behavior "section" and 2 sticker spots... like my chart above, to do this, you have to "merge the cells".  Starting on the second and third cells down in the far left column, highlight both... and click on the "merge cells" button on the Tables and Borders toolbar... right next to the "Create table" button, or right click and click on "merge cells".  There you go.

Fill in with behaviors, days of the week, etc.  Happy table making! :)


  1. Thank you ! What a great writer you are. I will give this a go:)

  2. Tables? Charts? What happened to a good old fashioned whoopin'??? *sigh* I too have become a chart maker...however, I am done with stickers so we color in the circle or box, it is much less "sticky all over the houseyish". I better go, I suddenly have the desire to eat some yogurt and toast ;-)

  3. Very cool. I love tables! I was actually thinking of making a chore chart. And Bug loves stickers-- so it sounds like a win-win.


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