Discipline can be a tricky thing to have to deal with when you’re raising kidlets. What works when your child is 2 almost never works when that same kid is 7. Trust me on this one! When Luke started in Kindergarten last year, his teacher had what I considered a brilliant behavior management system and now that he’s in first grade, I’ve found that a good majority of the classes at his school employ the same system, including his teacher this year. After a few of our neighborhood friends started doing a nearly identical thing in their own homes, I figured we might as well give it a shot too. It’s been magical! My kids have never been more helpful around the house with such little complaining! Want to know the secret? Keep reading to find out how we do discipline in our home.
To start off with, we have two major components to the system: the Clip Chart and the Jars. The Clip Chart is where we keep track of their behavior throughout the day and the jars keep track of how well they’re doing as a whole. I have ours posted in our kitchen and family room area where it is readily seen at all times and is easily accessible to our kids.
The Clip Chart is simply 7 different colors of card stock taped together. I have my pieces cut to around 5 inches by 6 inches so they aren’t huge, but I have friends who use an entire sheet of 8.5 x 11 card stock per color. Do what works best for your space and your family! We’ve chosen to use the same colors as the charts found in their classrooms: pink is the highest/best they can do in a day and red is the lowest/worst they can do. To get the laminated look, I covered our clip chart in clear packing tape. Easy, right? This will help protect the sides of your chart for months and years to come.
During the day, my children get to “clip up” if they’re being helpful or showcasing great behavior. If they aren’t making good choices or do something wrong, they have to “clip down.” The rewards and consequences aren’t put into effect until the next day. They have the whole day to determine how many marbles they’ll end up with or what consequence they’ll be getting for the next day.
I created a simple outline of what each of the colors represents in our home (Thank you Project Life grid card!) and placed it right above the chart. Now, there’s no guessing as to what reward/consequence each of the colors carries. Notice that there isn’t some fancy printable that goes along with this, even though I could have easily created one. I wanted to keep it clean and simple.
When it comes to consequences, choose punishments that are meaningful to your kidlets. Mine love being able to be outside with their friends so that was an obvious choice for one, while no electronics (no television, iPad, or phones) is like the end of the world to them. Since implementing this system, neither Luke or Reagan has gotten on red. Make the lower colors mean business!
Each kiddo has a clothespin with their name written on it with a permanent pen. Each day they start out on green and move up or down on the chart as their behavior dictates. They are responsible for moving their own clothespin.
Now to the jars! I’ve one jar for each kid, plus a jar just for the marbles next to where we have our Clip Chart hanging. You may have noticed on my Clip Chart sign that my kids can earn marbles for good behavior. Based upon the color they are on at the end of each day, each kid receives a certain number of corresponding marbles to place in their own jar (credit brenmie). For example, yesterday Luke ended the day on purple and Reagan ended the day on blue which meant she added 1 marble to her jar while Luke added 2 to his. When each kiddo’s jar is full, they get to pick an activity/meal that just them and Mommy and/or Daddy get to go to with them; Reagan already has McDonald’s earmarked for her first special time!
Each jar is clearly labeled with each child’s name — there’s no second guessing where you need to put your marbles! I used vinyl cut with my Cricut Explore Air® for our jars, but your could easily write your kiddo’s names with a marker or on a piece of paper that gets taped to the jar. Anything goes!
It’s amazing the drastic change in behavior for Luke and Reagan since we started this. Everything is clearly laid out to make sense to them and there’s no questioning what the rewards or punishments will be for their choices, whether it be good or bad. I feel like it’s taken a lot of steam out of the arguments and tantrums, too. I consider that a win!
Think this system might not work exactly like this for you? That’s okay! Of all of my friends that have implemented the Clip Chart, no two of us do it exactly the same and do you know why? Because no two families are exactly the same!
One friend, Tamara, has her rewards and consequences printed directly on her Clip Chart, in lieu of my list that’s above my chart. Also, hers isn’t laminated and it’s still holding up nearly a year later. Her kiddos have to collect 100 gems to choose one of the following prizes:
Another friend of mine, Geneva, uses poker chips instead of gems or marbles. Each kiddo is assigned their own color and can turn the chips they’ve earned in for the opportunity to buy a special toy, choose a snack or treat, or have a date night with a parent. Geneva only gives out the poker chips if they are on green or higher and has altered the consequences to fit her younger child who’s going through a rough tantrum patch. That’s the beauty of this system: you can customize it to your current needs!
The final example I’m going to share today comes from MaryAnn. Her colors are almost completely different from mine, but it’s colors that she chose to use. It’s okay to switch it up like that! In her home, her girls earn marbles for being above green and lose marbles when they end up below green. She also gives each of her kids an extra marble in the morning if they are completely finished with their Morning Routine Checklist before a timer goes off.
So what do you think? Does this seem like a behavior management system that could work for your family?
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This post may contain affiliate links, but all opinions and ideas are 100% my own.
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