The Good Helper Chart

According to Michael’s teacher and his Occupational Therapist, Michael is a very visual learner. They said charts help him get through the school day. They have a chart for everything. Michael lives by these charts and relies on them to help keep his routine and bring order to his day.

Want an example of him and his loyalty to chart? Here is my most favorite and most frustrating example:

Growing up, Dad always told us to put our mittens/gloves on and then he would help us pull our puffy mittened hands through our coat sleaves so “snow didn’t get into the cuffs of our mittens and make our hands cold.” This is how we put on gloves for as long as I can rememeber. It makes sense. That is what you are suppose to do, I can’t speak for Beth but I know that even now when I am getting geared up my gloves still go on before my coat.

Like many other traditions that are past down from generation to generation, I dressed the kids the way my dad dressed us. Mittens then coat. Because it just makes sense. Mittens don’t slide off little hands if you put them on before putting on your coat. It is a fact.

So since I know what is best for my children when it comes to the order of clothing them in their winter gear, I had a very hard time dealing with Michael’s protests when I tried to put on his mittens on before his coat. You see, Michael has a chart in school hanging by the door that tells him the order in which you get ready to go outside for recess.

snow pants.

boots.

coat.

mittens.

hat.

Said chart is complete with little clip art images of a boy putting on his gear in that order.

Michael will not put on his mittens before his coat. Period. It was a battle of wills that happened more times than I care to admit but the outcome was the same every time. The score card is clear. He is undefeated.  I am sad to say that Michael won the war.

When it comes time for Michael to get ready to go outside his coat comes before mittens because of that clip art illustrated chart.

In the weeks since losing the Gear War I have learned to embrace the power of the chart. We now have a color coated calandar that has all of Michael’s activies written in a bright blue and all Daddy Play days are marked with a red star. The most recent chart is our “Good Helper Chart” that Christine and Jess were commenting on in the previous post  thus prompting this post and an explanation of why Patrick has more stars than Michael.

The “Good Helper Chart” is simple. You do something to help out (feed Lucy, pick up your toys, put your shoes in the cubby, put your dishes on the counter when your done eating…) you get a star. When you get four stars you get to choose one episode of tv to watch (Netflix has a HUGE selection of kid friendly shows that we have set up to “watch instantly” on our TV).

So why does Michael only have one star on the chart and Patrick has the goal number of 4 stars? It took Patrick two and a half days to get those 4 stars. Michael on the other hand churns through those stars as quick as he can because it is a chart and he likes to see stars on the chart just as much as he likes to pick out which Phineas and Ferb he is going to watch. Michael likes being a “Good Helper” because he can see the progress on the chart and he celebrates and cashes in his reward as soon as he reaches 4 stars. Patrick could care less. Patrick doesn’t get to choose TV shows very often. Come to thin of it, Patrick spends a lot of his time in time out so there isn’t a whole lot of time to earn “Good Helper” stars.

Respect the power of the chart and learn to embrace it.

One thought on “The Good Helper Chart

  1. Christine

    The mittens before coat method has never crossed my mind. I’m gonna try it. Maybe little mittens will stay on little hands.

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