The Terrible Three’s

The Terrible Three’s seem to be setting in here. Darn! I was so hoping my boys would be some of the rare 3 year olds that are actually just fine. Instead, in the last month we’ve seen a huge increase in not listening, tantrums, button pushing and fighting. I will say this though – their behavior still isn’t that bad. I mean, I have seen (and heard of) worse from 3 year olds, but the boys have been insanely well behaved (especially in public) in the last 8-10 months that it’s been exceptionally hard for me to get used to telling them something 15 times in a row in Target only to have the sound of my voice bouncing off whatever object it is they’re touching.

A big sign that the frustration is getting to me? Last night I had several dreams in which I was frustrated with the boys for not listening to me. I even woke Nick up with my ranting in my sleep. He said I was telling Chase to stop touching the towel. I don’t remember that dream, but I do remember one that prompted me to throw the sheet off me and start to get out of bed before I realized I was dreaming. The offense in the dream? The boys had pulled the floor vent cover up and were dropping toys down the vent (something that happened here yesterday).  Can you tell I’m one frustrated woman?

After some talking, Nick and I agreed the boys are clever enough now to “get” a star chart. I was on the hunt for poster board this week when I discovered something much more fun (and in the long run, cost effective) at Target. Behold, the magnetic star charts!

In case you can’t read all of the ways they can earn stars, here they are:

Getting dressed when asked, eating meals when asked, picking up toys and books, being good and listening in pubic, no time outs during the day, staying dry during the day (Tyler is the only one with this item – he’s had a problem lately with waiting too long to use the potty and as a result his underwear is a little wet and needs to be changed) and staying in bed at night (we classify this as being able to fall asleep in their own room, with their door open).

Basically, it’s all the items that become “issues” with them several times a week. In the morning, there’s often one who doesn’t want to get dressed and things spiral out of control. There have been times (many) we’ve struggled to get one of the boys to stop playing or tantruming and get up to the table to eat (we’ve actually made them skip a meal if it’s really bad). Picking up their toys and books at night can be a struggle several times a week. Taking them in public has been increasingly frustrating (see my Target comment at the beginning of the post) and we all know what an issue bed time has been. It’s pretty often that each child serves at least one time out a day, so I figure not having any time outs all day to earn a star is do-able.

The rewards are simple: 6 stars earns them a piece of candy, 15 stars will earn them a happy hour drink at Sonic and 30 stars will earn them a small toy or book. We figure for now they’ll probably only earn 3 or 4 stars a day at most. I’d love it if they’d surprise me though!

The big question is, will this work? Time will tell and I’ll definitely keep you updated!

Giveaway post coming right up!

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  • Christy

    Helen- I love the chart. I will be looking at Target for Shane. That is something that easily can go to babysitters too. He had a ginorous tantrum upon srop off yesterday and I can’t decide to give a consequence for the poor behavior or a reward for good behavior. It kills me to reward himn just to do his job, but maybe that will be more effective than punishing. Let me know how it all goes!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie

    I have to look for one at Target now!! I hope they have one! Those are about the goals I would have for M too and getting sick of her not listening. I don’t know what I would do with 3 not listening!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!ReplyCancel

    • Stephanie, I found ours in the back to school section, with a bunch of other white boards!ReplyCancel

  • Anna

    Those are awesome!!! I’m so heading to Target tomorrow to pick one up. Thanks, Helen!ReplyCancel

  • kimberlyn

    and of course you’ll have to be the one to drive them to sonic and you’ll probably have to get one for yourself. Parents have to do the most difficult things…. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Well of course, Kimberlyn! To be honest though – Sonic was Nick’s idea 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jill

    I’d like 3 of those too please 🙂 We use a marble jar for similar behavior..just something to add to your bag of tricks!ReplyCancel

  • Great idea! My girls have become increasingly difficult ever since they hit three. Yikes! I just bought something different at Target that has magnets, but it’s the same idea. Now I’m wishing I would have found the dry erase board you found…easier than all the magnets!ReplyCancel

  • You’ll probably hate me for telling you this, but with my four boys, age 4 was the worst! I’ll take the terrible 2s or 3s any day! Four was just really, really tough until they got to elementary school, and they were great again. So, enjoy age 3 while you can, and hopefully you’ll escape the curse of the Ferocious Fours!ReplyCancel

  • Your always so organized, and I love it. I need to remember this when I need to bring out some help! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Those boards look great…I think I could probably benefit from one myself! 🙂 I look forward to hearing how this works for you. Hope you’re feeling well!ReplyCancel

  • Jen

    I think I’ll have to take a trip to Target tomorrow to get me one of those chore charts, great idea Helen.ReplyCancel

  • […] back me up has been brutal lately!) My children are much more agreeable (and definitely earn more stars for their charts) when they’ve had a good night of sleep and a good nap. Plus, according to my favorite sleep […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Star Chart First! By Helen, on January 6th, 2011 We’ve been using this star chart system for almost 5 months now and it seems to still be working pretty well. As the boys have grown and […]ReplyCancel

  • Lauren

    Helen, do you know/remember what brand these chore charts are? I just realized I need one SO BAD and this is exactly what I have been looking for. I was just at Target last week and they did not have these. 🙁ReplyCancel

  • […] you can read other posts about our star charts here and here.  (And on that last link you’ll notice we removed the “staying in bed” […]ReplyCancel

  • […] New Chart By Helen, on January 17th, 2012 For about 18 months now we’ve been using star charts with the boys, with much success. We’ve seen behaviors improved, some even to the point of […]ReplyCancel

  • […] had many chore/earning/reward systems over the years, starting with the Star Charts when they were 3, and we did several versions of those. Then we moved on to the popular punch […]ReplyCancel