I have written on my blog several times about Accountable Kids but it has been briefly, just in passing, i.e. we use it and are happy with it. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, I rate it at 5. I think the time has come for me to share with you more in-depth about it. This program is for children ages 3-14. I started using it four years ago, when my oldest was 3 and my second was still a baby. Obviously, the baby could not do much with it. So we only bought one kit.
The kit contains a wooden board with five pegs, cards to hang on the different pegs, and a book. I highly recommend the book before you start the program with the children, not just so that you may understand what you are trying to accomplish, but to learn more about childhood phases, how you should think on your children’s level and many other parenting tips.
The Accountable Kids program has helped me (1) prioritize and schedule chores, (2) motivate my children, (3) hold them accountable for their behavior, (4) reward them for positive behavior and (5) build a forum for addressing negative behavior. It is not just a chore chart, mind you.
First off, the Accountable Kids program is customizable to your child and situation. That’s the best part. We all have different philosophies about child rearing. Some of us have none, so we need help figuring out what we should be aiming for, right? I know I was clueless when it came to allowance and chores, for instance, because I was not raised with any structure when it came to those two concepts.
Secondly, this program will take the guesswork out of parenting by giving you step-by-step instructions on how to implement chores, their execution, and their rewards.
Last but not least, the kids learn to be accountable to you and to the family for their behavior.
So the program comes with several types of cards:
- basic chore cards (chores for which you will not pay your child; they must be performed as a citizen of the household; your child receives a ticket for performing morning, afternoon, and evening cards; these tickets come with rewards you decide on with your child)
- tickets (see above)
- extra chore cards (chores your child can do for money)
- best behavior cards (you give these out to your children now and then when they exhibit a value-based behavior)
- bonus bucks (they are paid for extra chores and exchanged for cash at the end of the week)
- privilege pass (if you are working with your child on eliminating a negative behavior or habit, you can target it by offering a privilege pass when your child does not do that particular behavior; e.g., your four-year-old keeps getting out of bed after you have put her down for the night; if she does not come out of her room one evening, the next morning you can give her a privilege pass which can be redeemed like a ticket, for a field trip, a date with mom, play time with dad, screen time etc.)
They have very helpful videos on their site to explain how it all works, but nothing beats reading the book, which comes with the basic kit. Their website also has free printables, like the forms used for your weekly Family Forum.
As my children grew from 3 and 0 to 5 and 3, I had to adapt the way I use it. I put both of them on the same board. I wanted to experience the program fully before I invested in another kit. Besides, we all stayed home, nobody attended daycare or preschool, and did all activities together, so it only made sense. Because they were so young, my children loved looking at the colorful cards, touching them, moving them from peg to peg, understanding that we cannot have breakfast for instance until we finished our morning cards (making beds, dressing up, combing hair, taking our vitamin etc). It was a concrete way for them to grasp what we were asking them to do.
Fast forward two more years. My kids are now 5 and 7. It is time for me to stop coaxing and reminding them about their cards. I am ready to make them more accountable for their behavior. They know what they have to do. I should not have to nag. So … it is time to get a second kit with another board. That way, they each are responsible for their pegs, for moving their cards and themselves through the day, and receiving their rewards accordingly.
All in all, I highly recommend this program with a five-star rating, but please beware. The program only works if you work the program. Don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. Try, try again. It will all be worth it in the end.