Saturday, August 30, 2014

House Rules

I originally posted this on 3/30/2011.

This week I read an awesome blog on Living, Laughter, and Loving about house rules and chore charts. I was inspired! We have been having some behavior problems around here and I have completely run out of ideas on how to address them. I have tried every trick in the book. Or so I thought. Then I saw Laura's rules. I love how she incorporated God's word into her rules. It is not just "I told you so." This is how Christ wants you to behave. Love that!!! So I asked her if I could steal it. :-) She said yes.

Tonight we sat down as a family and came up with our own house rules. I did have to prompt Twizzler a bit but Skittles jumped right in. One rule I thought I would have to prompt was "Love God and love people." but Skittles came up with it. It was his second rule. We put it at the top of our chart though because it is the first commandment and Christ told us it was the most important commandment. 

On the back of each of our rules there is a corresponding Bible verse. I put them in a pocket chart so that when a rule is broken we can take it out and read it together. We can also read the Bible verse together. 

Here are our rules and corresponding Bible verses for inquiring minds. 

  1. Love God and love people.  Luke 10 :27
  2. I will use nice words. Ephesians 4:29
  3. I will obey my parents. Colossians 3:20
  4. I will use nice hands.   Ephesians  4:31
  5. I will be honest.           Psalm 101:7 
  6. I will be responsible.   Luke 16:11
  7. I will work before play.       2 Corinthians 9:6
I wanted my kids to have very clear behavior expectations. So I also made a behavior chart. I told you when I started my blog that I am not very creative and if I steal an idea I will try to provide the source. The traffic light behavior chart has been around for years. I remember seeing them in some of the other Kindergarten classes in the public school I worked at many years ago. It is a great idea. Here is one of the spots I found it. If you Google "traffic light behavior chart" you are going to get a ton of different versions. Here is mine. 

House rules and behavior

My boys are really into race cars. I got these race cars at Phillip Martin's clip art website. I love his clip art. It is very cute and its free. I use it for my lapbooks, notebooks and any other projects. I changed the color of the race cars to my boys favorite colors. Then I glued them to a clothes pin. Now it is easy for me to move them up and down the traffic light. 

We discussed how the chart works. They start the day on green everyday. If they break a rule, they go up to yellow. Yellow is a time out. Time out in my family works like this... My pre-writers spend one minute in time out for every year of age. When they are done with their time out they come to me and repeat after me the rule that was broken, one time for every year of age. So Twizzler spends 4 minutes in time out for hitting and then comes to me and repeats after me, "I will use nice hands. I will use nice hands. I will use nice hands." here is where he gets really remorseful. "I will use nice hands." Sometimes he can even squeeze out a tear.  

Time out does not always work for Skittles. Once he began writing proficiently I switched his time out over to writing sentences. Now when he breaks a rule I give him lined paper and he has to write the rule he broke 7 times. As you can see my rules are not long or difficult. It takes him about 7 minutes to complete. It also keeps him focused on the reason for the time out and it sure beats sending him to the corner and listening to him scream about the injustices of our household. sigh... Which brings me to our red light. 

If they can stay in time out calmly and for the full time, then their car will travel back down to the green light. If they scream, cry, throw things... at me... resist their time out, then they will go to the red light. When they hit the red light they automatically loose a privilege. 

I also found this behavior chart on Heart of Wisdom. I like that the child can move up the chart when they are behaving and not just down when they misbehave. That is wonderful! I almost went with this chart instead. I think it is a great chart. The reason I did not, is simplicity. It seems like a whole lot of moving up and down. Also they are already getting a reward for staying on green. I am not sure what reward I would dole out for higher than green. Right now I think the traffic light will work for us. Maybe down the road, in a few years, we will be ready for more than 3 steps. 

It has been 3 1/2 years since I posted this and it is still working like a charm. I have not had the stop light behavior chart up in a couple of years. They learned pretty fast what was expected of them and what the consequences are. Skittles is old enough now to write the bible verses instead of the rules. Honestly though, it has been so long since they have even had to write sentences that I can't even remember. Now all I have to do is say, "Do you need to write sentences?" and they turn their behavior around right away. There are several things that I have tried in the past and either it only worked for a short amount of time or it did not work at all but I can say all honesty that this method has proven tried and true. 

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