Stock Car Racing Behavioral Chart
By Mike Hyde, The Webmaster
A couple of years ago we were having some behavioral issues in our cottage. It seemed like nobody wanted to clean their rooms, do their chores or follow any of the rules. The home we work at doesn’t use a level system or other program other than the family model. Having used a behavioral chart individually with children with pretty good success, I decided to try it with the majority of the children in the house at the time. I however didn’t want it to be some mundane chart with stars or smiley faces. We live in the south and as you know in the south stock car racing is probably the number one sport. I had just finished watching my almost every Sunday afternoon race with the kids when I came up with the idea for the Racing Behavioral Chart.
At the time our children ranged in ages from 2-13 years old, so I had to set up theconsequences and chores differently for young and older children, but it could just as easily be used for either age group exclusively.
Here is how the chart works. Each day every child starts on the Lead Lap. If a child commits an offense (i.e. didn’t clean their room, didn’t do their chore properly, was out of bounds, failed to follow an instruction, etc.) they would move their car to Lap Down. The 2nd offense of the day they moved it again to “On Pit Road”, 3rd to “In The Garage”, and finally to DNF which stands for “Did Not Finish”
The theory behind the different positions is this:
You have to be on the Lead Lap to win the race.
If your car is not running well you will a lot of the times be lapped by the leaders, this will put you a lap down.
If you car continues to run bad, you will usually go to your pit box on pit road to work on the car and make adjustments to try and get back on the lead lap and improve your position.
If this doesn’t work or you have a major problem, the teams will take the car back to the garage and work on it; this usually results in you being very behind. Even though teams will not win that race if they have to take their car to the garage to work on it, they can repair it and get it back into the race and score additional points toward the season championship by completing more laps than other cars with problems.Finally, if a car blows an engine or wrecks really bad, their racing day is over and they don’t finish the race. If this happens you load the car on the truck and try again next week, in our case the next day.
Like in a real race when a car has a serious problem or a wreck and goes straight to the garage or Does Not Finish, you can instruct a child that commits a serious offense to move their car more than one position or straight to DNF. We would usually require the child to complete each of the consequences up to the consequence for the position their car was on.
Like most behavioral charts we worked rewards in the system, so the chart was not focused solely on negative behavior and consequences. If a child stayed on the lead lap for 5 consecutive days they would receive a special reward. Our older kids preferred to go for Ice cream as their reward. The younger children preferred to go to the dollar store for some shopping. It could easily be adapted for what ever situation you like (Free chore day, pick the meal, etc.)
After about a month on the chart most of the kids spent more time on the lead lap than not and our house ran pretty smooth. It eventually got to the point that we didn’t need to use it anymore.
Here’s How I Made It
Materials I Used:
24” X 36” Magnet Compatible Dry-Erase Board
Avery® Ink Jet Magnet Sheets
1/8” X 40’ Black Pinstripe (1 roll for up to 8 lines, over 8 lines will require 2 rolls of pinstripe)
Full Sheet Labels
Car Stickers (See Note Below)
Total Cost for Materials is about $30.
Note: For the cars you can use several options. If you want pictures of actual NASCAR® racers your best bet is to cut pictures out of a magazine or other source and glue them onto magnetic sheets. You could use pictures off of trading cards but this can get expensive. I found some stickers at Wal-Mart® in the card section for $0.84 that would work very well for a general racing chart.
I first laid out the board. I have included the measurements I used for the chart. Next I printed all the headers on a full sheet label, cut them out and stuck them to the board. Since they were ink jet labels and could run if they got wet, I covered them with clear packing tape. Lastly I printed the names, chores and laundry days on magnetic sheets and cut them out.
The magnetic sheets are fairly thin and can be difficult to lift off the board to move them. To make it easier I cut out a tab on each label to use for lifting it off the board. See the close up pictures.
I have all the instructions available as a PDF download in my "Members Only" Section. (Instructions PDF includes this article, a chart with layout measurements, the Header labels, examples of Cottage rules, examples of consequences, examples of chores, etc.) Click Here for information on the "Members Only" Section.
I hope you find this chart useful. If you are not able to use the chart, I hope you see how you can make your white boards look really sharp using automotive pinstripe.
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