I can take very little credit for this, as I simply instated a program that the kids have at school. When I saw that my friend Karin was using it at home, I thought I’d give it a shot as well.
It’s called “the clip chart.” Each child has his own clothes pin with his name written on it. Everyone starts the day on green, “Ready to Serve God.” When a child performs an act of kindness, is helpful, does something without being asked, etc. they get to “clip up” to the next level, with the goal of reaching the red, “Outstanding,” and staying there.
On the other hand, if they make a bad choice – fighting with each other, failing to do what they’re told, etc – they have to clip down. The blue says, “Pray About It,” purple is “Parent’s Choice,” and pink is “God Contact.”
I’m sure you can buy this online, but in my opinion our home-made version is better. The kids did most of the work making it, so they are more invested in it. I admit that I had to relinquish my desire for perfection in letting them write the words, but they did a great job and I think it turned out beautifully. By making our own, we were also able to change some of the verbiage – “Ready to Serve God” in lieu of “Ready to Learn,” etc.
I never put a specific reward out there for reaching “Outstanding,” but have been allowing each child who is on Outstanding at the end of the day to choose a book to read at bedtime. Today, Ray and I agreed that, since they had had such a great week (and we were long overdue for a family outing), we would take them to Monster Mini-Golf. We won’t do this every week, but I figure there can be some small reward for an exceptional week, even if it’s just going for a hike or having a family movie night.
So far, no one’s gone below “Pray About It,” so I haven’t put much thought into what “God Contact” might entail. I think that if anyone reaches it we will spend some time reading an appropriate scripture verse and drawing a picture or writing a letter about how we can do better.
We are one week into using the clip chart, and the kids are still looking for ways to clip up. They’ve never been more helpful or agreeable. It’s amazing. Even if they stopped caring about it tomorrow, it would be worth the effort we put into making it for the one peaceful week that we have enjoyed!