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Tuesday, June 22, 2010



The Silver Peg

We've been using the chore board and ladder discipline system on and off for over three years now. I've discovered my kids won't follow the Daydo list, and the allowance system was too much to keep track of so we abandoned it, but the chore board and ladder has become a staple.

We fell away from the board for the better part of the last year while I tended our infant in and out of the hospital throughout multiple medical issues, but I've been increasingly disgusted with the messes everyone is leaving for me to clean. I decided this week to revamp the board.

It needs to be replaced, torn up from one of my kiddos who purposely destroys it with his peg when he's unhappy about moving down the ladder, but it's good enough to start back on.

I got new pegs to replace the missing ones, making sure I had enough different colors for each kid, and decided to use the All Boys, All Girls, and Everyone pegs much less, changing out some of their neutral colors. I set the board, conscious I couldn't assign everything that needed to be done. Then I took off the obsolete pegs except one, the silver peg that was left from the former Everyone color. I set the ladder, then called everyone over to view the board and ladder reinstatement.

A few whined they were down the ladder, but I reminded them of their recent behavior and failure to do their verbally assigned chores.

"How can I go up the ladder, then?" they whined.

"By doing all your chores on time." I answered.

"But how else can I go up the ladder?"

I realized that by doing only set chores, it would take a few days for them to get up the ladder. They realized it too, and it was making them already discouraged. I looked at the board, remembering an article I'd read a week before about one family who assigned value to chores to earn shiny marbles and how their kids scrambled to do them. The silver peg shined back at me. I got an idea.

I took the silver peg and plugged it into Clean Litter Box, something only one of my older kids has done a handful of times. I wanted to see if the silver peg was enough of a lure. If any of them would clean the litter box, I knew it would work longterm.

The kids looked at it and said, "What's that for?"

I replied, "Anyone who does a silver peg chore, gets to go up the ladder."

To my shock, my seven-year-old son ran to retrieve a bag and the litter box scoop and began doing it while the others were still staring at the peg. Then the eight-almost-nine-year-old joined him to help sweep litter off the floor. Both went up the ladder one.

"What's the next silver peg chore?" they asked. Bags of backed up unfolded laundry came to mind, so I set the silver peg on Fold Clothes.

This time the ten-year-old joined them and folded the multiple loads of laundry. Then it was on Clean Garbage Can, then Clean Bathroom, then Vacuum. The oldest, 15-year-old IJ, who at first scoffed over the whole thing, saw how well they were going up the ladder and how he couldn't play video games because he was too far down. He picked up the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the living room. Then he put it down to leave more vacuuming for someone else. By then, I'd found another silver peg and had plugged it into Clean Microwave. So he went and cleaned the microwave.

I was amazed. I am still amazed. I hadn't realized it, but our chore board had been missing an important component to make it really work: extra incentive. Now perhaps our board will go from being a good acquaintance to being our best friend. Thank you, Silver Peg.

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At 5:46 PM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

What an awesome idea! I'm going to go check out your chore chart and ladder thing...sounds like we'd need a peg board, but I'm sure I can come up with something. We used to use a white board, but that doesn't really work because it gets erased too easily.

At 6:27 AM , Anonymous Liquid Roof said...

Nice and interesting info regarding discipline system, its so nice to read your article thanks for posting it.

At 1:21 AM , Anonymous grundfos central heating pump said...

What an awesome idea! I'm going to go check out your chore chart and ladder thing.
Thank you for sharing.

At 10:11 AM , Anonymous Marianne said...

This is a really cool idea. I might have to try out a similar system with my own kids to make sure they get all their work done around the house.

At 9:03 AM , Anonymous craig said...

what a gem to stumble upon! this is awesome stuff, will recommend it to whomever will listen to me. good stuff.

At 9:24 AM , Blogger Andy Domonkos said...

Hello, and nice blog. I think you would be well advised though to change your layout just a bit. Your links are RED and sort of blend in with the background. Also your Tab bar is transparent and looks out of place. You could greatly increase your readership with a few minor aestetic changes, and get your message out to more people. A slightly smaller header would be good too, just a friendly suggestion. :)


At 3:31 PM , Anonymous water damage Cicero IL said...

That's a really terrific idea. Creative ways to get kids to do things are always good to have around.


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