Saturday, August 18, 2012

Organization - Behavior Charts, Rewards, Chores, Schedules, Routine Checklists (Part 1)

Organization, organization, organization!  That seems to be my motto this weekend . . . especially with the start of school coming on Monday, I feel overwhelmed.  When I feel overwhelmed, I feel an alarming urgent need to organize, so I am getting everything updated for the new school year.  Thought I would share how we have been doing things in our home, and maybe it would help someone else out.  I am always struggling for consistency, and these things help our family out a lot to stick to it.  It definitely has gotten a little easier since both of our boys (age 8 and almost 6) can now read well.  We still will have to go back to some of our preschool charts for our daughter (now 18 months) when she gets old enough, but for now this is what we use for our big kids.

And if any of you have come to this post by way of searching for SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER and SENSORY DIET EXAMPLES, I do have some Routine Checklists that we use to help our SPD child, as well as our non-SPD child to take on some of the responsibility themselves of incorporating the Sensory Diet "excercises" into our daily routine.  (We find our non-SPD child enjoys these just as much!)  You can see examples of these types of exercises we use toward the VERY END of this post.  It is a long post, and if you don't want to read all the other stuff here, you can scroll to the very end of this post and then up just a little to see the Routine Checklists section.  Again, this is just an example of how we use it in our family.  We are not experts, just parents learning too!  Please consult a licensed professional to know what will help your SPD child specifically.  You can also read more about our SPD Parenting journey by clicking on the Sensory Processing Disorder posts that are in the labels on the right side bar.

So here is A LOT OF ORGANIZATION IDEAS below!  Hope this helps someone in their family too!

Token Reward System:  At the beginning of each week, our boys start out with 50 tokens in a plastic ziplock bag labeled with their name on it.

We tell them that these tokens are for the things they already know by this point that they are responsible for doing . . . such as getting dressed in the morning on their own, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, carrying their meal plates to the counter, throwing away their snack trash, picking up their toys after they are done using them, brushing their teeth morning and night, etc.  These are a part of their normal responsibilities and what we expect them to do in our family.  If they have trouble doing any of these basic things, such as complaining or whining about picking up their toys for example, then they lose tokens from their bag.  We as the parent determine how many tokens they lose for each offense.  Hitting, being disrespectful, etc. or breaking any of our Family Rules also constitute the loss of tokens.

Family Rules:
You can download a copy of our family rules here if interested:

On the other hand, extra good behavior, going above and beyond to help a sibling out or help Mom or Dad out earn them extra tokens.  Also, extra chores that take longer to do, like cleaning our front and back glass doors, dusting, vacuuming, etc. earn them extra tokens, again the number determined by the parent based on how good of a job they did and their attitude during doing it.  Because of our busy schedules during the school year - this year we will participate in Upward Soccer, Gymnastics Class, and Awana in addition to regular school and homework duties - we don't always have time every day for the "extra" chores.  But when we have a night at home, or on the weekends, or any other time we need the kids to do a chore, or they want to earn extra tokens for doing chores, they can pick a popsicle  stick out of the "Chores" basket.

The Chores basket has popsicle sticks that have our extra chores written on them.  Sometimes if we don't necessarily need a particular chore done, then the boys can randomly pick a popsicle stick chore out of the basket to complete.  When they are finished doing the chore, they put the popsicle stick in their "Done" basket.  This way at the end of the week, usually each extra chore has gotten done, and we know who gets the credit for the chore by which chore popsicle stick is in their basket.  We then reward the tokens accordingly.  We also use the tokens to motivate for behavior out in public.  If we are going to dinner out at a restaurant, we may say before going in, "If you have extra good, polite behavior during dinner in the restaurant, you can earn 10 extra tokens."  We like the token system for our house, because we can motivate them a little extra to do the things we expect them to do, but they may need the encouragement of a potential reward that they are working for.  That brings me to rewards.  Their tokens add up to rewards on our reward board.  The boys helped us come up with these rewards, and they are things they enjoy doing.  Many are things we would normally do anyway, but helping them to know that they earned it from good behavior and chores completed, helps teach them they can get special things if they work hard. I ordered our token tubes and tokens here:  (scroll to the bottom of the page):

When they get to a particular line in the token tube, the rewards listed at that line are the ones they can choose from.  We then write the reward on a little magnetic list pad, so we remember what reward they earned.

You can download a copy of the Rewards we use here:

We determine when they are allowed to cash in their reward.  For instance, a sleepover in the living room is only cashed in on Friday nights, if we have nothing else planned.  When they use their reward, we mark it off the list so we can keep up with which rewards they've cashed in and used.

Money Rewards:  Now that our boys are old enough to care about and understand money, we have also been rewarding them with actual money.  We use the same token tube reward lines . . . each line they get to earns them $2.00.  This essentially makes it so they earn about $12/month.  When they get to the top of the chart, if they want to go to the store to pick out something special, then they can with their own money.  Or if they are saving for something special, then they may keep their money earned and save until they have enough for what they want to buy.  This helps a lot to limit the trips to the store to buy toys (which they usually spend their money on at this point) to just once a month or less.  Of course we go to the store more with them, but if they ask to get a toy, we say that they haven't earned enough of their own money yet to get something extra and they need to wait.  This is helping them to learn to save for something special, and they adjusted better to waiting than I thought they would.  (We've been doing that for several years now).  I made three different money bags out of pencil pouches I found at the dollar bins at Target that I wrote "Save," "Spend," "Give," on them.

So, we encourage them to divide out their money into these three categories as they earn it.  Also, a new thing we have just started to try is to record their money on a "kid checkbook register."  I found this idea shared online and liked it a lot.

We often don't have the exact cash available to give the boys when they earn it, so this way we can write it down in their checkbook register, and then when they do decide to spend it they can make a withdrawal from their bank accounts (Mom and Dad are their bank) and we write that inside their checkbook register.  Hopefully the more we work with this will teach them about keeping and balancing their own checkbook register.

Kid's Checkbook Register:
Download your own kid's checkbook register here and read more about where I got the idea from:

Electronic Games:  With the start of school, we won't be having as much time for Wii games, DSI games, computer games, Ipad games, etc.  So, in an effort to limit the time that they spend on these electronic games, last Spring I made these Electronic Game Cards, just out of cut up index cards.

Each card can be cashed in for 10 minutes of playing an electronic game.  They get however many we determine to put in their plastic bag at the beginning of each week, and they have to ask to use them or cash them in.  If we say that they can, then they have to get their card out of the bag and give to a parent.  When all the cards are gone, then they've had their allotment of electronic games for the week, and can't play them again until their bag is refilled the next week.  This has helped to put some time management responsibility on themselves, as they have to choose when they want to use their remaining cards that they have in their bags.  This also eliminates us from having to constantly say "No" when they ask over and over to play one.  If they've already used up their cards, then they automatically know that they can't play anymore.

Scripture Around the House:  Another thing I try to keep up with is writing scripture verses around the house to keep it fresh on the boys' minds and in front of them.  I found these stick up dry erase sheets at Target about a year and a half ago and I write different verses on them that our family is concentrating on and ones that we want them to learn.

I have one stuck up in their stairwell that leads up to their bedroom, one in the kitchen above the trash can under the calendar, and one in the hallway.  Since they are dry erase, they are easy to wipe off and write a new one when we are ready to concentrate on learning a new one.  I am hoping that by having these Scriptures up, it will instill in them that we are a family who strives to live by God's Word in all that we do, in our everyday life.

Routine Checklists:  Another thing we use a lot of in our house is checklists for routines.  We put these in clear sheet protectors and they can mark off that they did them with dry erase markers each day.  For our boys, multiple step directions seem to be hard to follow, so we make them responsible for looking at their checklist and checking off that they did what they were responsible for doing.  These are a few that we use at our house.  We have morning exercises and after school exercises that particularly help our boys, with helping them get awake in the mornings before school, and to have them concentrate on something other than being anxious for going to school before they leave.  It also gives them a short exercise break after school before they have to start on homework.  And then sometimes we use the things before dinner to get them calmed down after playing outside and ready for dinner time.
We also use one for after school things we expect them to do.  I found I was having to say over and over and over again, "Did you already wash your hands?"  etc. etc.  So now I just say, go do your after school checklist, and they can refer to that if they forget what comes next.
You can download a copy of these two checklists we use here:
Morning -
After School -

Summer Schedule:
And on another note, we also follow a summer schedule during our summers, so I am attaching this schedule also, which may be utilized by any stay at home moms with children younger than school age if you want some sort of schedule to follow in your day.  There are three tabs - a blank one that you could create your own, a page 1 and a page 2 tab.
You can download a copy here:

I hope that some of these ideas may help you and your families as you get ready for the busy back to school schedule in your home!

Since I originally wrote this post in August 2012, I've written a Part 2 post with some new Organization Ideas we are implementing now, a year later in August 2013.  Click here to read Part 2 if interested. 


  1. I saw this mentioned on my mini-news feed on Facebook and decided to take a look. Wow! This is amazing, Jill! You have so many good ideas. I really like the checkbook and scripture around the house. I've tried many different chore/responsibility systems. Still trying to figure out what works and of course, I need to work on being consistent. I might have to borrow from your system. Thank you so much for sharing!-Dayna Venters

  2. Thanks for your nice comment Dayna. It's nice to know that someone reads these and maybe it will help someone else out too. Between today and yesterday, I wrote an update to the post above. Check out Part 2 to read what we're still doing a year later with these things, and some things that we've changed. Thanks again for stopping by!