Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Accountable Kids = Accountability...for ALL!

 About a month ago I happened across a mention of this program on another blog I follow. I was curious, as most moms would be, at the mention of "ACCOUNTABLE" kids! So I began doing some online research and discovered the Accountable Kids system.

My husband and I regularly fight over discipline techniques, consequences, what privileges are "allowed"... we just were completely NOT on the same page. When I did more research on this system, I discovered that it would be GREAT if it helped start our 2 young boys out on the track of being ACCOUNTABLE people...but it would be even BETTER if it could get us, as parents, on at least in the same CHAPTER. This system is definitely expensive...I even considered trying to get the book and make the rest. But after I sat down and figured in the cost and the time involved, I decided to go ahead and order.

The general basis for the program is teaching your children to be responsible and accountable for themselves, all while strengthen relationships in the family. It's basically choice vs. consequence for kids! Every action has a consequence ...negative or positive. It's up to your child to chose the correct action to get the end result they want! The system is broken down into 4 steps.

  1. Step one introduces the chore boards, daily "routine" chores, tickets earned for completing chores & the ability to lose those tickets if chores aren't done or if an undesirable behavior is shown. The most beneficial piece to this is that hopefully with little time or instruction your kids can start doing these routine things THEMSELVES. The tickets are then earned and used to buy privileges such as: a movie, time outside, listening to their music in the car... etc. (Just to name a few of OUR privileges). If a fit is thrown or undesired behavior is experienced, you can simply take a ticket which limits how many privileges can be "Bought". You also introduce the "BEST BEHAVIOR" card which is an especially big "honor" and is just used randomly to help reward good decisions, good behaviors, extra help, etc.
  2. Step two introduces the privilege pass. This is something that is special and used to target one problematic behavior (i.e. mealtime manners, staying in own bed, etc.) A date card is also introduced. My kids are super excited about this one and are on their way to earning their first date. With each day that EVERY ticket is earned, a star is put on the date card. When the card is full, the child chooses one person to do something one-on-one with. We will keep you updated as we fill this up and try out our first "dates" :)
  3. This step adds in EXTRA chores that can be done for "Bonus Bucks"... since the regular routine "chores" are what are done just for being part of the family and how you earn privileges! The BONUS BUCKS can be used to learn how to budget or save for purchases, etc. There are a variety of ways to use these depending on your child's age and the family situation. They are very flexible.
  4. The fourth step introduces a "Family Forum" which is a time set aside each week to sit together as a family and discuss several pieces of information to keep everyone going and on track. Quiet time is also introduced. We have not gotten this far yet, but will keep you updated as we go along!

We got the boards within the week I ordered and made a "board decorating" night for that Friday night. Haven (5) and Hudson (just newly 3) both were very excited about this part and we were able to discuss the first basic step as we worked. As I anticipated, Haven was THRILLED to get started. He, in fact, got up EARLY the next morning to get started on his "chores". He isn't QUITE so enthusiastic anymore, but finds comfort in the routine and is generally very good with being self-started. Hudson is younger so trying to understand the concepts a little at a time. He is definitely the one to throw a fit now and then when I ask "Are your afternoon chores done?" when he REALLY wants to be going outside.

We have been working on using this system (and yes it DOES take some work and follow through on the part of the parent!) for a little over a month now and I'm seeing some definite changes in ALL of us. Most all for the BETTER as well.

Some of the main "advantages" I have found using this program:
  • It really DOES give everyone an 'equal playing field'. Even us, as parents, that are usually so different in our approaches and styles! We at least have a base to our parenting "system" that is the same! It's great. The tickets as rewards and consequences is WONDERFUL and takes the guess work out of things.
  • It gives the kids a sense of stability and routine. Do they ALWAYS get up and do things with as much enthusiasm as Haven did the first day? NOPE! But do they know what I mean when we get out of the car and I say... "Guys have you done your Car Cares today?" Absolutely! They also know when each section of the "chores" is expected to be done and it helps structure their days.
  • Having "tickets" to take away works great in public also! You can avoid a HUGE scene by.... "Do I need to take a ticket?"
  • It's teaching the kids to be SELF-MOTIVATED! We're working on lessening the reminders!!! YAY! Great thing to learn YOUNG!
  • The time spent in front of movies and such has lessened greatly! "Paying" for these privileges definitely helps them find more motivation to do other things. It also has stopped a lot of the arguing over who gets to choose this or that and has stopped the feelings of "entitlement" to things almost dead in it's tracks... even at such young ages!
    • Side Note: One other blogger had mentioned putting in an "ASK FOR TICKET" ticket after each section of chores... I did this and YES it's a must! I love that it's a reminder to me that yes I can check their chores... or no I really didn't  give them their ticket after I checked that the bed was made! It hangs there until I give them their ticket then I flip it over. Easy Peasy!
The disadvantages I have found:
  • It does take some time and some prep to get everyone on board with each step. (More so for the parents to find time to discuss their "expectations" ahead of time)
  • It is hard to keep up with when things get busy and the regular routine is interrupted. Sometimes we get home late and portions have to be left out of the "afternoon" chores etc. I hate that they don't get their sticker when it's not their fault our routine was changed...but it's all about the clear, consistent follow-through.
  • It is spendy.
We have only implemented the first 2 steps so far....since the boys are young. In fact we just started step 2 not long ago. But all in all I feel it is something we will continue with! I feel that the money is worth it especially since it's not "Just another chore chart"... we can adapt and use this all throughout their childhood. I'm very glad I went ahead and purchased this! I hope to keep you updated with our experiences as we go, add steps, etc.! This is definitely something that instills values, accountability and more that will benefit my children and my family for LIFE!

Overall I give Accountable Kids 5 stars out of 5! If you are interested or want more information, please check out their website by using this link:  ACCOUNTABLE KIDS

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