Accountable Kids is a complete system to run your home. It includes a chore schedule, an allowance system, a negative behavior modifier, a positive behavior reinforcer, special one-on-one dates with a parent, and a weekly family meeting. It is a compilation of every good parenting idea I have ever heard.
The kit comes with the board that holds all of the cards needed to run the program. The chore cards have several options with standard chores and a few blank cards to include your own. The colored bars below the chore picture are there for you to customize when the child is supposed to complete the chore. (Yellow: morning chore, red: afternoon, blue: evening, purple: weekly, and green: for money.) You cut below the color that you want to use. The chore cards start on the far left of the board under the stoplight icon. Once the chore has been complete, the card is flipped to the next peg under the finish ribbon. That way, when the day is done, they can be flipped back to restart the chores for the next day.
The tickets are given after each chore subset is done. So when yellow chores are done, you get a ticket that you can then spend on a privilege of your choosing. Parents can also take tickets away for bad behavior. My kids got into the habit of spending their tickets immediately after they got them to stop me from taking them, so now we have a ticket debt system where if they don’t have a ticket they have to pay me their next one instead to get out of the red.
Bonus bucks are earned when children do extra chores above and beyond what they are supposed to do everyday. They can only earn bonus bucks if they get all of their normal chores done in the same day. So no cleaning the car for two bonus bucks but leaving your room a total disaster. I like bonus bucks because they can change their value. I assign the value of the bonus buck each week at the family meeting.
Best behavior cards are given when you catch your kids doing something great. You can focus on a particular virtue you are trying to instill, or you can hand them out whenever you notice something positive. I love these cards because it helps me have more positive interactions with my children. I am too inclined to be critical and this helps me remember to praise my children. We have a family movie night and kids with best behavior cards get various levels of fun based on how many cards they have. One is like a movie ticket. Two will get you popcorn, and there are better snacks going up from there. We have also used them in place of tickets and in a raffle for prizes, but the family movie night idea has worked really well recently.
Privilege passes are different because you start each day with the pass, and if you make it to the end of the day without doing a specified negative behavior then you get the privilege that the pass offers. This allows you to just focus on one behavior to modify, and it does it in a friendly way. You don’t have to make a big issue of losing the pass. When the undesirable behavior manifests, I just say, “Oh, that’s such a bummer. Maybe you can keep the pass tomorrow. Keep trying.” Our privilege passes are good for fruit smoothies or reading late.
The special date cards are earned by doing all of your chores for 10 days. This is great because even if your child won’t earn a ticket for doing their chores (cause they are in the red, or they are doing their chores really late and missed the time deadline), they still can earn their star for the day by working through their chores anyway. 10 stars gets you a special date. You can decide what a date card is worth at your family meeting. We usually use ours for ice cream trips or other similarly priced outings.
The family meeting board has pegs for Opening, Business, Games, Treat, and Closing. We rotate our kids so that they can do different things each week. You don’t need this board to have family meetings, but we have found it helpful, and the kids really enjoy using it. It also makes it easy to remember who gets to pick the game or the treat each week because that is super important to my kids. The meeting is the time to figure out incentives and address how the system is working in your household. You can set bonus buck values, how you earn privilege passes, etc. It is a great place to talk about what is and isn’t working and how to make it better.
In my next post, I will talk about what to do with an older kid who doesn’t want to flip their chore cards anymore.