Changes – Part 1 {Punch Cards}

Last Monday Nick and I implemented some big changes here. We’d noticed a few things about the boys and about ourselves and decided a change would be good.

The things we had noticed? Well, Nick and I were relying too much on time outs and they really weren’t doing much good lately. The boys would come barreling out of their rooms even more irritated then when they went in to begin with, and so began a vicious cycle… On the boys’ side of things, they didn’t seem to care as much about earning stars for their Star Charts. For nearly 2 years those charts have been great at curbing behavior issues, encouraging good behavior and encouraging helping out around the house. The last couple of months it went downhill though, and most weeks Ty and Jackson hadn’t earned the once coveted 30 stars. They just didn’t care. As a result, they didn’t care about acting up in public, or helping to pick up at night, or taking care of their dishes, or making their beds, or how many time outs they had.

When we decided it was time to change things up, I knew we had to go big! The plan we unveiled to the boys last Monday covers a lot of different areas, so I’m going to break them down into several parts. Watch this week for parts 2 and 3 (I don’t think I’ll need a part 4).

Chore Punch Cards


At almost 5 years old, money is starting to mean something to the boys. A few weeks ago I was telling them what an allowance is and you should have seen the way their little eyes lit up! Well now they sort of get an allowance (but we’re not calling it that), but they have to really work for it. Behold, the chore punch card!

Here’s how the chore punch cards work:

  • There are 10 circles to punch on the card, and once all 10 have been punched the card can be exchanged for $2.
  • A maximum of 2 punches can be earned per day, so the fastest they can cash in is 5 days, but we knew our kids weren’t likely going to pull that off (and we were right).
  • Punches are handed out at the end of the day, when we have confirmed that their mandatory duties have been done (if they haven’t done all of these, then no punch):
  1. Make their bed
  2. Take care of their PJs in the morning and dirty clothes in the evening
  3. Take care of their dishes at all three meals
  4. Help pick up toys at the end of the day
Punch Job Options

Nick created a big chart to hang on the wall, and it’s full of Nick-inspired drawings (as were the star charts we used to use). On the chart are the jobs the boys can pick from to earn a punch. Not all of them are jobs that need to be done every day, so the boys understand that we’re allowed to say “no” to a job request.

  • Dusting
  • Wash Windows
  • Sweep the kitchen and dining room floors
  • Vacuum a room
  • Clean out the van
  • Organize the shoes in the garage (they tend to get out of control quickly!)
  • Sweep the garage floor
  • Outdoor work (raking, shoveling, weeding, etc)
  • Clean the bathroom (wipe down the sink, counter, toilet and tub)
  • Help put away groceries
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Put away laundry
  • Organize two dresser drawers (they have to empty out the messy drawers, then fold and put everything back neatly)
  • Organize the books on the bookshelf in their room

Some jobs are obviously more simple than others, and some are also deemed as more fun than others (vacuuming and dusting are big hits). Some of them have required a bit of guidance the first couple of times, but the boys are catching on fast! I’ve done a fair amount of mixing praise with instruction (especially when it comes to telling them to slow down because they have to do it right and not just rush through to get the punch). Sweeping has been a tough one for them to master, and the dishes look a little precarious after  they empty the dishwasher, but it’s meaning less work for Nick and me at the end of the day and the boys are learning valuable skills! I hope to marry off 3 boys who are as awesome at housework as Nick is!

So after a full week of having the chore punch cards, Ty and Chase earned their final punches last night and Jackson will probably work hard to earn his final 2 today.

Know what else? The boys are excited about having “real money” finally! Jackson is plotting to save up his to buy a Wii game, while Ty and Chase are already talking about when the ice cream truck might come by.

Want to do your own chore punch cards? Click here for a PDF of my cards, that you can download, print off and use in your home! 

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  • andrea

    That is a great idea! I may have to try some variation on it here.

    Also, that last picture, the one with the boys and their money… in it Ty looks a lot like Dewy from Malcolm in the Middle. Too funny!ReplyCancel

  • I love your blog and I have to share this with the KC Parents of Multiples FBReplyCancel

  • Laney

    Looks great Helen!ReplyCancel

  • Angela

    Can’t wait to give this a try. Printed the cards on photo paper. My daughter can’t wait to start punching!ReplyCancel

  • You know I always look to your house to see what’s working for your kiddos! Can’t wait to see the next parts in your series, Helen! And good luck with it! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • […] to unveil Part 2 in the Changes series! If you missed Part 1 (Punch Cards), make sure you go back and read […]ReplyCancel

  • Heather

    I keep saying we need to be more consistent with out 5 year old about chores. I like your idea of the punch card and it actually puts some of the responsibility about remembering to do chores on my daughter, instead of me! We have also hung signs near each area that she has a chore (near the dog good is a sign with Feed The Dog). It helps us to remember that she is supposed to do it, and not us! Thanks for the ideas.ReplyCancel

  • I need more ideas on dealing with 2.5 year old twins and 4.5 year oldReplyCancel

  • Jeremy

    Just call it a commission, not an allowance… They are earning it after all. Make this Dave Ramsey guy happy!ReplyCancel

    • LOL, Jeremy! We aren’t calling it anything other than money they earned for a full card 🙂ReplyCancel

  • What a great idea! I love this!!! You do have wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Konifrost

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing the .pdf file. I’m sure it saved me lots of time!!
    We’re starting tomorrow.. it’s going to be great!
    THANKS again!!ReplyCancel

  • Woohoo, Konifrost! Hope it’s well received by your kids!ReplyCancel