After making the decision to purchase the Accountable Kids program for the princesses, I knew that to make anything work, I would need to make it work for us. When I received the box in the mail, I went through the book first.
The book included a quick start DVD to help learn the basics of the program. Since I had devoured everything on the website first, I skipped this step as I felt I already had a pretty good idea.
The main part of the program revolves around the Progress Board. This is where the child is given his instructions as to what are her responsibilities. The suggestion was to have the child decorate their own board, and I may yet do that once we have the program more established, but for now I used some 1 1/2 inch letter stickers to personalize each princesses board. You will notice the cards hanging on the board. I'll get to the specifics in a moment, but the cards that will hang on the board are the reminder cards to be done, the finished reminder cards, any earned and unredeemed tickets, the date cards and any cards done for payment. Here is Princess E's board.
I also purchased the mini board for keeping track of all the tickets, bonus bucks, best behavior cards and - how I tweaked it for us - the chores that can be done for money. Here is a picture of it.
I decided to put all the boards up on the wall next to our whiteboard in the school room. That way it was easy for everyone to see what has been done, and what has not been done yet. I measured twice and drilled the holes in the wall. I put the included anchors into the wall. When I went to put the screws into the anchors, my holes were about 1/16 of an inch off. I ended up putting the screws in at a slight angle. Thankfully, they included wooden screw covers that hid the fact that they are in crooked.
Now I will show you some of the tweaks I did to make this system work for us. First, I decided which tasks needed to be done because they were a member of the family, and which tasks I was willing to pay them to do. I decided that on the cards that they could earn money for, that I would write what the expectations were. Some of the cards had to be done on specific days. Second, I had to decide what time of day each of the tasks needed to be attended to. Each card comes the same length, but there are five horizontal colored bands that you can use to assign a timeframe to each chore. When a chore is completed, they take the card and rehang it up facing backwards on the board. This lets me know they are ready to have the chore inspected. (Because you cannot expect what you are not willing to inspect!) When they have finished all of one color group of chores, they will earn a ticket on their board.
Here are the morning chores that are required.
The next set are chores that need to happen before there can be any free time. It is preferable that they be finished before dinner. They also must accomplish all of these before they are allowed to do a chore for which they could earn money.
They also each have an after dinner chore that has a blue band. Next come the chores for which they can earn money. Since we live in a split level, I divided the cards up and labeled them upstairs or downstairs. I also listed the steps for each chore on the back. Here's a slide show of some of these.
One special note is the laundry card. The two oldest princesses have been trained for several years now in how to do their laundry. For about a year and a half, I have attempted to assign a laundry day to each of them. However, it was happening all too frequently that they would start a load, and then forget about it. So it would take them days to finish. I was never able to do my laundry, DH's laundry, or the other two princess' laundry. So a few weeks ago I told them it was up to them to have clean clothes. If they didn't have clean clothes, then they wouldn't be allowed to leave the house until they did. What ended up happening is that they would have dirty clothes overflowing in their hampers and they would do one small load - just enough to get a few pairs of clean underwear and socks. The rest of the clothes would stay dirty. So to encourage them to take responsibility to do ALL of their laundry instead of just a small load, the laundry card is something they can hang up if they can show me that all of their clothing except that which is currently on their person is washed, dried, folded, and put away in either their drawers or their closets. If they can show me that they will earn both a star for their date card, and $1. I decided I had to limit this to once a week, because it is only a matter of time before one of them figures out that they can wash everything up and then proceed to do a load each day. For the rest of the chores they can earn money for, I put them all up on the mini board and when all other cards (except the blue dinner card) are done, they may choose as many as they would like to do. They place the chore on their board when it is ready for inspection. Once a week I will pay out money they have earned.
We needed to decide what they can earn with their tickets, as well as how to utilize the date cards. We decided that tickets can be redeemed for personal TV time and play time with friends. We have several old TV series on DVDs that we watch as a family on some evenings - Little House, the Waltons, Andy Griffith, Cosby Show - and we decided not to count that family time in the ticket requirement. Also included in the system are the date cards. You can decide how you want to incorporate these for your family. I decided for now that if they earn all three tickets in a day, they will earn a star sticker on their card. For now, I just want to focus on completing the requirements within an acceptable amount of time. Later, I will change these up.
There are two other types of cards - Best Behavior card and Privilege Passes. I told the Princesses that after we have the system up and running I will add these in. These can be used to target certain behaviors. You can reward them for choosing a desirable behavior instead of an undesirable one. I'm going to have to think on this for a while to figure out where to start with these with each princess.
We had a family meeting to explain how this would work. Princess E was excited. Princess S was aghast. Princess L just loved the boards. Princess M ran away because she didn't understand any of it. Princess M will be just learning about these. We are just now starting to train her on the morning tasks that she needs to do to earn her tickets. She will get a lot of leeway. I'll be reporting back in another week or two with how they are doing with this system.