Naughty boy2
So, a few weeks ago I referenced the Points List that a mother used when her kid got grounded. Basically, the mother created a list of things her child could do to get off groundation, each task attached to a certain number of points. Once the child reached 500 points, they were done being grounded.

I think this parenting hack is brilliant, mostly because it puts the length of the grounding into the child’s hands, and they’re learning several things in the process:
- How to strategically rack up the points to finish faster (hint: the larger items aren’t always the best way to get there)
- Motivation to do lots of chores without procrastinating
- That getting in trouble really isn’t worth it

My son has had his Xbox taken away for pretty much the whole school year because his grades slipped past the point of being acceptable. The rule was he could get them back as soon as he brought his grades back up. However, today is the last day of school, and his grades never budged.

I’ll be honest – I hate punishing my kid. And with summertime here and no way of him getting his grades back up until school started, I really wanted a way to give him back his game system. However, he still needed to earn those grades back.

In came the Points List (click to enlarge).

Microsoft Word - Lucas' points list Summer 2014.docx

On the list, there are a few items to take note of.

The first is the one 50-point item: deep cleaning his room. My son’s room is a disaster area, and it will probably take him a full day to get the job done. This is why it has so many points attached to it. And while every other item on the list is stuff he can choose between to do, this is the one item I have made mandatory.

The second is “G-rated Lucas.” Like most 13-year-old boys, my son finds humor in some of the grossest or inappropriate things. 24 hours of no¬† potty-talk is totally worth 15 points to me.

Third is the large list of 5-point items, particularly the letter writing items. He can probably whip up every single one of those items in one day, which will add up to a lot in a very short time. But I thought it would be a nice touch for his grandparents to get a nice note from him. Also, Ella is a little girl we know who is working very hard on her reading. How awesome would it be to receive a letter from a 13-year-old friend?

Fourth is the 20 points for reading Forever Thirteen and writing a book report. Yes, I am shamelessly enticing my son to read the book I wrote through a points system.

Fifth are the negative points. While the majority of the list are items that can help him earn his Xbox back, there are a few things that will keep him from earning it back as fast. This was my chance to try and turn around a few of his pesky bad habits – like sneaking food in his room or borrowing without asking.

And there you have it. If you’d like to download a copy of your own Points List, here is a link to mine in a Word Doc so that you can change it as you see fit: The Village Chores Points List

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  1. anny

    These are all great and a really good idea for breaking the rules and see the consequences for their action.
    However, why are doing chores always in the punishment column?… like being a part of a family and having a clean house is a punishment. When you get punished you have to go clean something or take the garbage out. Isn’t that what one does to keep a environment pleasant.?
    Are you saying that keeping your environment clean is a punishment, and not having to do it is what is the standard. ???
    Why not try to devise a list around what the kid did wrong and have some things that would be in direct relation to that wrong

    January 29th, 2015 7:25 am

  2. Christine

    I have a similar system I use with my kids. It works really well for us because just taking something away for a certain amount of time wasn’t working. My son would just wait it out…he is very patient.

    To respond to Anny, I don’t think having kids do chores as a consequence for bad behaviour is a negative thing. When kids make bad choices and lose trust, doing something productive and helpful to the family can give them a sense of accomplishment, can build their self-esteem, and can help them to feel that even though they made a bad choice, they are still a valuable member of the family. Earning points for doing chores is similar to earning money for doing work.

    It is all in how you view consequences and discipline. I see it as my job to teach my children to do the right thing and to be good citizens. It is also my job to teach them skills like cleaning and taking pride in your belongings. All good things!

    March 25th, 2015 2:26 pm

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