Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Chart

I am trying to get Connor to have better manners. I know not all of you subscribe to the southern "Yes Ma'am, No Sir" mentality, and that's fair, but I still need my child to ask for things nicely rather than saying "Gimme some juice!" And at the very least, I need him to NOT COMPLAIN every time I put a plate of food in front of him. (After telling my mother-in-law that not complaining earns a manners sticker, she cracked me up by responding, "That's a sad state of affairs you've got there." Hee!) So we set up a chart, which you already have or plan in the near future to make fun of me for, and he gets a sticker when he uses good manners without being prompted. Ten stickers earns him some little prize. That's the deal.

And how is this working out for us, you might ask? For the most part, this has been a success. Not only does he accept dinner without complaint, he has even started thanking me for fixing it! I know he has his eye on earning a sticker, but I'm pretty sure the no complaining part of it has been internalized. He also doesn't expect "stuff" from me as often. (That last trip to Target was rough, but he is getting better with the idea that he might get something after ten stickers rather than getting something now now NOW.) However, I can tell that he's looking at the bottom of the chart as a time when he might be let off the hook manners-wise, so I believe we will create a replacement once this one is filled up with stickers. Once he sees there is no end in sight, he might give himself over to his southern-ness and just be polite all the time. In my dreams.

There are other benefits as well. This morning, as we were getting in the car, Connor said, "I told Dad that he was the number one dad!" I told him that was great, now get in the car. "I also thanked him for. . .something," Connor continued, and it dawned on me that he was fishing for a sticker but trying not to ask directly for it. (Which is not allowed.) And so it came to pass that I was able to teach my son the difference between "manners" and "blatant ass-kissing" at the tender age of four. Behold the power of the chart!


Memphis Urban Sketchers said...

charts rule!

Stacey Greenberg said...


i am not above doing a chart. i think i need to wait for jiro to get a wee bit older though so he doesn't just destroy it or something.

Cathy said...

Is there a chart that helps keep an 18 month old from slinging apple sauce across the kitchen and mushing it in his hair?