Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Behavior Cards (Please Work!)

Like most 3 year olds (almost 4!), my daughter has some behavior issues.  Despite our efforts to be firm and consistent, M seems to need external motivation.  (I am thankful that other moms seem to empathize with the fighting and meanness, but she does seem worse than some others her age.)  Some days her behavior is just too much.  Too many awful days lead me to remember some behavior modification methods that I used in my teaching days.  (I will not be using this with our son who is almost two.  I don't think it is age appropriate for him yet.)  In this post I will share what I did for using behavior cards in our home, and what I did in my classroom.

First I made a simple "traffic light," to coordinate with the three colors of cards we use.  Then I cut three rectangles (and rounded the corners to make them nicer) from green, yellow, and red card stock.  The pocket that holds the colored cards is just an off centered fold on a rectangular piece of card stock that is wider than the cards.

I wrote a little note on the traffic light and added faces to coordinate with what the cards represented with her behavior.  On the green card that represents good (or super) behavior, I added a glittery butterfly and wrote the word "Super".  (Notice when the green card is in the pocket it looks like it says "Super M."  (hehe)  I also put decorative stickers on the card holder and added M's name.  The yellow card has the word, "Okay."  I left the red card blank since I didn't want write a  negative word.

The traffic light and cards are hung on our basement door, which is able to be seen from the kitchen, kitchen table, and living room.  I keep all three colors in the pocket for daily use (until misbehavior changes the card).  I "laminated" the pocket with packaging tape to keep it sturdy.  Before the first day was through using this system, I used our laminator on the cards knowing M enjoyed handling them.

If M gets any time-out she loses a card.  After she lost her first green card, I put it behind the red card.  After a bit, I noticed the green card had magically returned, so now we put any "lost" cards on the fridge.  At some point, I would like the consequence to just be losing a card (and not the time out, too), but I don't think we are quite ready for that yet.

In my classroom I used library book renewal card holders for the card holders and labeled them with my students' names.  (In a specials classroom my friend used numbers so she could use them with every class.  She also allowed students to earn the green card back, but I won't be doing that with M...I think it would confuse her.) I used colored index cards (green, yellow, pink) for the cards.  If a child earned a yellow card in my classroom, it was a warning.  If they earned a pink card, a note was sent home to the parents.

If M keeps a green card all day long, she earns a special treat at the end of the day-candy or a sticker.  If it is yellow, nothing happens.  If it is red, she loses evening television privileges.

How have we done?
Day 1-yellow
Day 2- yellow
Day 3- green
Day 4- red
Day 5- green

Here is M enjoying her first treat.  A lollipop is highly unusual in our home.  Really candy is in general.  Then she passed it to E, and they shared it.  I thought that was sweet (and highly unusual).




I don't know if it will continue to work, but we'll  be thankful for improvements that we have seen and hope for continued self control until the external motivators are not needed to help her.

This will be linked to ABC and 123's Show and Tell for this week!

11 comments:

Christy said...

The kindergarten teachers at our school use this method. I think it's a great idea. I hope it works. I have been meaning to implement a behavior jar in our house, but I haven't done it yet.

"FAITH" said...

Great idea, you are so creative, I love hearing about the things you come up with. Hope it works out.

Ticia said...

I did that two in my classroom. Actually I had to change it up several times with my last class. I also used sticks, and some other things.

Hope this works.

Miller Moments said...

LOVE this idea! Very very cute. BTW, I got the Bible yesterday and am just delighted. It's beautiful and my boys and I have already started reading it together.

Carrie said...

I love your creativity and your commitment to helping and loving your daughter in this way. Parenting certainly isn't easy. =D (Surprise statement there, right?) I'll be praying for a green day for you today! =D

Anonymous said...

Something I used in my classroom that worked well in that kind of setting and maybe could be modified for home use is the "Thank You" system. Basically, I had a pocket chart labeled with numbers. Each child had a number matching one on the chart. There were green popsicle sticks in one coffee can and red popsicle sticks in another coffee can on the table below the chart. When someone was obeying a rule I would say "Thank you Susie for blah blah blah." I was very specific. Susie got to get a green stick in her pocket. Green meant keep going on with what you are doing. If Susie broke a rule then I would say, "Susie, get a stop mark. Then stop and think about what rule you broke and what should have been done instead." Red meant stop and think. If they had 10 green sticks by the end of the week and no more than 2 red ones then they earned a trip to the treasure box. I allowed the red ones because they are human and will make the wrong choices from time to time and deserve a little grace. Plus, I usually gave a warning before the red stick was issued meaning the child had the choice to disobey anyway. If there was a natural consequence for something I didn't intervene but rather just let it happen. Example-Susie leaves her pencil on the floor instead of putting it away. The natural consequence could be that someone takes it, it gets swept up with the trash at the end of the day, or it gets broken. The only time I would intervene is if someone is about to get hurt (i.e. Susie wants to jump off the top of the slide...breaking a leg is a natural consequence and I bet she wouldn't do it again, but I have to watch out for the safety of the kids) There were consequences for each red stick earned. My students' parents loved this method because even if Susie got 2 reds this week, she may have also gotten 12 greens and knows that at the end of the week, I found many more things positive about her than focusing on those 2 negatives.

Now, in terms of being at home...one of my sons (also 3, about to be 4) sounds like your daughter. We were and are firm and consistent but realized that he needed much more intervention. Let me tell you what has worked the best with him. I simply don't leave him alone. This way I am able to nip something long before it gets to the really bad stage. If I'm cooking or cleaning the kitchen I let him help (even it it takes twice as long because that twice as long is much better than the fighting.) If I choose not to let him help, then I wherever I am, I bring an activity in that room for him to do. It's not convenient at times, but he does know that that I'm always watching and he's a lot less likely to try and get away with something. I don't tell him he's with me because he needs to be watched or he's always doing things wrong. I just say I really like being near you. Him being so close also helps me teach him what I expect of him so much easier. I find with my son I need to reteach things much more than with my other children and I just accept it so that I don't get discouraged when I'm reteaching something. More times than not, this way of doing things with my son works best. The minute I give him some freedom he loses control and we're right back to this way. I've decided that he's just one of those kids that needs more teaching. We still have bad moments (but they are also much more rare), but in all honesty, it's because I've lost my patience or I wasn't paying attention enough when something first started. I read a book online that helped tremendously. I don't agree with everything in the book, but the discipline part is great advice and it gives actual detailed ways to handle situations, even what to say. The whole book is online (and you may have already read it) but the website is called: www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com.

Annette W. said...

Anonymous, thank you for sharing in such detail!! I had not heard of Raising Godly Tomatoes before.

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

Ah yes the dreaded behavior chart! We too have been having issues with this. Everyone said three would be worse than two but that four would get a lot better. I'm still waiting...

Izzie, Mac & Me said...

I love this system. I've been wanting to start something like this with Izzie. She seems to behave more appropriate when she knows there is something special at the end of the day for her. Thanks so much for sharing!

Holly said...

Great idea! I hope it works.

Everyday Mom Ideas said...

I had to raise my 14 year brother when I was 22. First thing my husband and I did was put him on a level system. It was easy to stay consistent with him and he knew what was expected and what the consequences where. He made huge strides in his life with this in-play. Good luck with this technique let us know how it goes.

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