Monday, December 20, 2010

Accountable Kids Review

Wow, it's already been almost two months since I purchased the Accountable Kids program which I meant to review a month ago to earn the 50% rebate offer. I suppose my tardiness reflects my own need for an accountable boost. Anyhow, here's what I think of the program.

First here's a brief description from the Accountable Kids website.

Step One: Children learn to take care of personal responsibilities without constant direction. They learn work ethics, time management, and responsibility. Children earn Tickets by completing basic chores. Tickets can then be used for activities or privileges. Tickets provide parents the ability to discipline without losing control or physical contact. Basic values are encouraged and reinforced with the Best Behavior Card.
Step Two: The Privilege Pass is introduced to eliminate specific negative behaviors. This process empowers children to predict consequences, follow rules, and redirect themselves towards positive behaviors. A Special Date Card is added to allow children to work for future rewards and enhance parent/child relationships.
Step Three: Completing basic chores provides basic privileges, but not the extras. Children earn Bonus Bucks for completing extra chores. This gives them the ability to make decisions about purchases. They experience the advantages of saving and learn to manage resources for the future.
Step four: The Family Forum presents an opportunity to discuss goals, problems, challenges, and accomplishments. It provides an opportunity to monitor progress and encourage positive behaviors. Quiet Time is introduced to refresh and recharge children and parents. It encourages the use of imagination, self-discipline, and self-entertainment.

Theory: I love that this is more than a chore chart. They really thought about the core issues of teaching accountability to children and provide plenty of tools to get them on their way. I love the visual impact of each child having their own peg board. The tickets are cute and useful though a bit delicate for my rough boys.

Preparation/set up: this system requires a bit more preparation than your standard chore chart. But that's what makes it more worthwhile. You have to think about what each child can handle and what motivates them and be specific about what each ticket represents and what behaviors lose tickets.

Execution: I feel like we got off to a rocky start and even though we've technically been using this system for about 5 weeks we're still working out the kinks. I think it's like potty training: you have to be sure you're committed before you start because false starts just mess up the process. It didn't help that right after we introduced the program each of the kids and then I all got sick. There's no sticking to schedules and chores when you're sick. And then we had visitors. And then their daddy sometimes works night shifts so we can't really do music and all the other things when we have to be quiet all morning. But, even with all those complications, I still think this is a great system. They're still not at the point where they can be trusted to do everything without prompting but we're definitely making progress. I love when they tell me what's coming up next. Also, my older son really didn't like getting 2 tickets taken away for hitting his brother so it's only happened once. And I've really found the best behavior card to be helpful. After my younger son got his first one he was extra sweet the rest of the day.

Overall Rating: I think I'll give it a 4 out of 5 stars. I think most of our hiccups have been due to my lack of execution than the actual program. But I do wish there was more help to figure out how to make it work under different circumstances. I think I should read the book and the blog more. And if anybody has any ideas about working around night schedules and how strict to be about earning stars for dates, I'd be very grateful.

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