Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fingerprint Sticker Chart - tutorial

We've recently tried out the idea of "sticker charts" at my house.
They work pretty well because the sticker itself is a little instant gratification for my kids when they meet a goal or do something that they are supposed to do.
But, they also get a prize when they fill up the whole chart...and that's the motivation to keep earning stickers.

I used to work at a treatment center for teenage girls.
One thing I learned there is to always remember the positives.
"An emotional bank account".
Sometimes I forget to praise my kids for doing something normal.
Something expected of them.
But, when they don't meet basic expectations, they are in trouble.
Some days, I feel like I'm yelling at them all day long, and then we are all miserable.

I took a parenting class that recommended that you say 10 positives for every 1 negative towards your children.
That's actually really hard to do.
The teacher said that sometimes you have to go back to the basics:
"Great job putting on your own shoes today!"
"Thanks for doing what I said the first time I asked you!"
"I"m so proud of you for sitting quietly while I was on the phone..."
etc.
If it's a day when your kids are tired and tantruming, you have to really put in an effort to find 10 positives before you can bring up the negative behavior.
The positives are often easy to miss because life just flows.
The negatives trip us up and catch our attention.

So, I decided to make fingerprint sticker charts with the boys to help remember the positives and give them a little reward (a fingerprint).  

First, I drew out a tree with grass and sky using watercolor colored pencils.
Then I gave them a paintbrush and some water and let them paint their own pictures.
The watercolor pencil turns to paint when it gets wet.
Then we picked some simple goals to meet everyday.
The boys helped me decide on what their goals would be.
We included "be kind" so that they can get an extra fingerprint every time I catch them doing something kind.
(The fingerprints will be the leaves on the tree)

We've only had our sticker chart for a couple of days, but so far, the boys will do almost anything to earn a "fingerprint."

So, give it a try...
Try to spend more time praising your kids and looking for the positives :)
I find that it makes for happier kids and a much happier mom!

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