We don’t like to use charts in our home. Rewards charts and chore charts have never really jived with us. Honestly, I don’t like having to keep up with them. And we expect our kids to help out around the house when asked, not just to fill a chart up with stickers. But recently, the whining situation in our home became so out of control that I got desperate. In my desperation, I created the “No More Whining Chart.” We’ve managed to keep up with the chart system for more than a few weeks now. To my pleasant surprise, there’s been a change in our home.
Part of my inspiration for the chart came from a poem that my daughter and I learned in school at the beginning of the year. It’s called The Little Things, by Julia Abigail Fletcher. The last verse of the poem says:
“Little deeds of kindness, little acts of love, help to make earth happy like the heaven above.”
I knew our home could look a lot more like heaven. So I wrote this line on our felt letter board and hung it in a prominent place in our kitchen. Then I introduced the chart.
Our No More Whining Chart is super simple. Little deeds of kindness and little acts of love are rewarded with a sticker. And anything other than that like whining about the meal set in front of you, using unkind words with a sibling, or acts of selfishness get an X. When you have more X’s than stickers on your chart, you don’t get dessert, TV time, or Kindle time.
It took a little while for the chart to take off. One homeschool day, all 3 kids filled their charts up with X’s before lunch. They still didn’t have any stickers by our afternoon snack. I pointed out how ridiculous it was that they hadn’t done one kind thing for each other or their momma all day long. Because of that we didn’t watch a movie that night, and they didn’t get any dessert. But over the next couple of days things started to change. They began trying harder to earn stickers by going and getting things for each other. They started sharing their beloved Star Wars spoons for breakfast. And they even answered with an “I’d love to” when I asked them to do a chore.
One night my oldest son brought a favorite stuffed animal to his younger brother in bed. I thought nothing of it, but before I closed the door to their room that night, my two-year-old said: “Probly Remi get sticker on chart; him being nice to me.”
And I praised the Lord because not only were my kids starting to be nicer to each other and less whiny, but they were also beginning to recognize each other’s kind deeds.
And this is why I am sharing our experience with you today. Not because I created the end-all-be-all of charts that will change your family life in weeks. Because we managed to find a way to create the habit of love in our kids.
I will also say that we are in no way depending on this chart to change anything about our kids permanently. In our home, we are Christians. So we believe that God is the only one that can really change hearts. And we are praying that He will open the hearts of our children to trust in the salvation of Christ Jesus.
But in the meantime, we have the responsibility to teach them what it’s like to love. We have the great privilege of creating a culture of love in our home and sometimes it takes little things like a chart to get us back on the right track.
And who wouldn’t want their house to be a little piece of heaven on earth anyways?