We’re still in the month of January, which means there’s still time to make some 2010 resolutions. If you want to get your kids involved in this timeless beginning-of-the-year tradition, there’s a product on the market that can help. The I Can Do It Reward Chart® was developed to help families keep track of weekly chores and achievements, but it also helps children develop an understanding of cause and effect, especially in regards to their own behavior. (I just realized how clinical that sounds, but that’s the science part of it. It’s a fun activity in practice as I’ll explain.)
The most recent edition of the I Can Do It Reward Chart® by Kenson Parenting Solutions was new for Learning Express in September of 2009. It was featured in our Great Games catalog, but I think it’s particularly relevant for the new year since the parental motivation for buying it is to establish and reward good habits.
Here’s the 411, broken down into the Toy Talker’s 3Fs of toy quality.
The chart itself measures 15" x 11" and is made with a durable, laminated material. The days of the week run across the top and spaces for six chores run lengthwise. There is a “My Goal” space at the bottom where you can write in the number of stars you want to earn in a week, and a “My Reward” box to write the incentive. (Nothing like a little positive reinforcement!) Presumably you can write with a dry-erase marker, but that’s not included.
What the package DOES include is a set of 45 gold stars and 20 interchangeable chore and behavior squares. These all have Velcro pads on the back, which attach to the corresponding pads on the chart. Each square includes a colorful picture of the particular task or politeness, which is great for establishing visual associations.
Here’s the complete list of available chores and behaviors (beginning with my favorite):
Share your toys
Get along with others
Eat your veggies
Say please and thank you
Good at table manners
No harming others
Help with dishes
Water the plants
Clean your mess
Go to bed and stay in bed
Brush your teeth
Note: There are 9 supplemental packs of task squares available for purchase, which cover additional chores and behaviors.
The I Can Do It Reward Chart® declares that it improves self-esteem and promotes independence for children ages 3-10. I have no trouble believing that the goal chart achieves its first two goals (haha), but I am somewhat skeptical about the upper age limit. The tasks included in the standard pack seem more suited to kids 3-7 or 8. Any child older than that might require a different motivational technique. There is room for 6 tasks per week—a total of 42 possible stars. (I think 30 is probably a reasonable goal for most kids.) The chart is designed for one child, so you may want to invest in more than one if you’ve got multiple youngsters.
The chart has two strong magnets on the back, which will stick to any metal surface. I think the obvious choice is the refrigerator. Prominent placement allows for the celebration of every achievement. The Velcro that attaches the gold stars and task squares will stand the test of time (I tried to peel one of the pads off the chart and only succeeded in breaking a nail), but the grip is pliable enough for little hands to attach and detach the stars as needed.
While this product may seem to be more for the parents’ benefit than anything else, I think the I Can Do It Reward Chart® can be something a kid looks forward to every day. There is something exciting about picking out the goals for the week together, watching those stars build up, and feeling the satisfaction of a job well done. In a way, the child experiences a tangible participation in their own upbringing.
It may not be our conventional idea of fun, but I think with the right approach and a little creativity it can be a very entertaining learning experience.
- Toy Talker
The I Can Do It Reward Chart® is available for purchase at many of our Learning Express stores. Find one near you!