Monday, November 08, 2010

The Blessing Chart

Recently I mentioned that our family has a system of blessings/points that can accrue for special rewards. Here's a closer look at the charts that we use at our home to motivate good behavior and discourage bad behavior; we bought them from an organization called Doorposts. [Sorry the picture isn't terribly clear!]

The first chart, the "If-Then" chart, details specific negative behavior and the punishment that will be given for such behavior. Included on the list are arguing, complaining, and whining (which in our family will earn you a timeout), direct disobedience (three spankings), defiance and disrespect towards parents (that'll get you five spankings), and the big whopper, lying, which gets the offender 10 spankings and a loss of privileges. The loss of privileges is usually something we know will be a hardship to the child--once for Chloe it meant that she could not wear dresses for a week.

On the positive side, we want to reward things like truthfulness, being quick to obey, using kind and gracious words, being diligent, and so forth. Everything on this chart is worth one point. Now this is a bit challenging because we expect our children to obey right away, with a cheerful heart, and all the way--to do completely what we ask. So that is the normal standard. This chart is for actions that are above and beyond, like volunteering to share a treasured item with a sister, hopping up to help Mommy clear the table without being asked, having a cheerful heart in a particularly difficult situation, things like that.

Recently when we've been gone overnight and the girls have been in the care of our house helper, Lou, we've also offered some bonus points if there were no instances of direct disobedience while we were gone. Last week we were out of town for two nights and almost three days, and the girls did great! Their reward was a full 10 points each!!!! So, the points go on the chart and start accruing. You can see below the various ideas we've thought up to use for rewards--mostly all things that involve special time with Mommy or Daddy, special foods, or special activities out and about. We purposely tried to keep the rewards simple, not expensive, but fun and enjoyable. The girls can choose how to spend their points, whether to let them build up for a "bigger" reward or to use them right away. In the past we've already enjoyed these rewards: used the special plate (a pretty ceramic plate that says "Celebrate Good Times"), Clara Anne chose a special dessert which was to make bunny shaped sugar cookies, each of the girls has chosen the songs they wanted for family worship, both Clara Anne and Chloe stayed up 30 minutes late one week on different nights to do my exercise with me (I was honored that they wanted to spend their points that way! yes, I usually exercise at 9pm!), and once Clara Anne chose to get her hair washed at a salon with Mommy while Daddy took Chloe to Dairy Queen to spend their points.
But today was special. We've now switched our Family Day to Monday, due to several new events being scheduled on the weekend, so today was our first day to try out the new schedule. I have to say, I really enjoyed it! The girls had points built up and so Clara Anne chose to have a special book reading time with Daddy. He read to her for more than two hours this afternoon! (Though he admitted that he was literally falling asleep a few times, so he finally got up and drank some tea, which revived him enough to keep going!). Chloe spent her points today by choosing the entire meal for Family Night. She wanted quesadillas, so my helper made the tortillas, we used my friend Rachel's awesome fajita marinade, and had a lovely meal complete with Oreo pudding at the end. Everyone enjoyed it and Chloe felt so special! I had a can of A&W stashed away in the cupboard and let the girls share that, giving a bit extra to Chloe since it was her points that got spent, and she loved that too!
You can see that even after today's exciting spending, Clara Anne still has 12 points left, Chloe has 19, and Christin is holding steady with 13. When the points on the chart are circled, that means they've been spent. So far, we've all enjoyed the blessing chart and it's been a helpful motivation and encouragement. The girls have loved seeing their points build up and the spending of them is great fun! At this point, it's all a bit over Christin's head so she's not quite as engaged as the older two girls, but even she has grasped the basic concept. Clara Anne has shown herself to be particularly motivated by the points, and Chloe has done wonderfully in doing the things that get the points! So it's a win-win for everyone. And that's our Blessing Chart!


erica said...

Rachel -
Thanks so much for sharing the pictures and details! I have been reading about this a lot recently and I know it is what my kiddos need! I hope to start tomorrow! :)


Kay said...

Rachel - I really like this point system. We used a system of earning points (we actually used poker chips) when our kids were little. They could be turned in to watch a special program on TV (since they were limited to only a couple of hours each week) or they could save them up and actually turn them into cash when they reached a certain amount. It worked great for us. I enjoy reading your blog and keeping up with what's going on in your life. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

Phil & Rachel said...

Where did you get the if-then & blessings charts? Did you make them or buy them?

Rachel said...

We bought the If-Then and Blessing Charts from an organization called Doorposts. You can find them online at

sandra said...

This post arrived just at the right moment! We've been trying a variety of charts, but this is the most comprehensive chart system ever! I'm SO INSPIRED.

Sarah said...

Love the points system and explanation! We have these two charts and I look forward to using them with some of your suggestions!! thank you!

Brandy said...

These are great ideas! Do you let the girls redeem their points once a week or whenever they choose?

Kim said...

This is a great post - I ran across your blog earlier today and really love your message! For discipline in our house we've been using a website called Our Discipline plan. It's free and its at

Basically it let's you create an if/then chart for rules and consequences, it also lets you create a place for goals and rewards for your children, and a chore chart as well. One really neat thing is it lets you actually track your child's behavior and it gives them a behavior rating, if they break alot of rules their rating goes down but it improves again over time. It's an interesting tool for me as a parent, and also good for the children too! I will say, you can go do X again when your behavior rating is back in the green! Very innovative!