Bad Mom,  Beach Bits,  Bug,  fitness


bribery charts

Bug and I are charting. (Not that kind of charting. More the put-up-a-chart-on-the-fridge-and-track-your-progress- towards-a-goal kind of chart.) Bribery schmibery—whatever works is my policy these days. Charts worked pretty well for potty-training so I’m trying them out for brushing teeth and exercise. Teeth-brushing for Bug and exercise for me. We both seem to struggle in these areas and it is entirely my fault.

We’ve been so lax with Bug and brushing her teeth which is horrible, I know! It’s just that we have hard teeth in our family and I know she will probably inherit that trait. I’m not worried about her teeth rotting away. I’ve never had a cavity in my entire life and I think Toby only has a few. Gum disease maybe, but our teeth will last forever. But that’s no excuse to let Bug grow up without healthy habits so we are working on it.

whatever works

Bug gets a star every time she brushes her teeth and after seven stars she gets a treat. I probably will have to move it up to more than seven stars but we’re setting our goals low to start out. Her treats will be a trip to our favorite yogurt store or a surprise (which I have yet to determine but I’m thinking something special like a trip to a new park or a picnic).

Does this count for two stars?

So far it’s working really well. The after-meal torture has turned into a new fun game. And no, she can’t get two stars for brushing with two toothbrushes.

I've shot this view a thousand times

So far the chart is working really well for me too. We got up early and took a long run/walk/jog to a nearby beach. Too bad there was a milkshake stand at the end of that particular jaunt which completely defeated my purpose for the exercise in the first place but we’re taking baby steps.

If anybody wants a chart too, email me and maybe I’ll make it available via pdf.

Charts for YOU!

Bug’s Toothbrushing Chart

SAJ’s Exercise Chart

and a bonus:

Bug’s Potty-training Chart

(Though, uh…your guess is as good as mine as to how to use it. We just filled up the rows for whatever day we were on with stars and then got candy when a row was filled up. It doesn’t make sense if you’re super anal but it worked for us.)


  • Sonja von Franck

    LOVE the charts! Jackson and I could both use the exact same charts – I’ll email you!

  • rae

    Hi. I read your blog often. Bug is such a cutie pie. It’s great that Bug is learning to brush on her own, but it’s important for a parent to brush a child’s teeth at least once a day (according to dentists). Kids just don’t brush well enough.

    SAJ says: Yeah, we do that. That’s the “torture” part of the routine. Though I swear I’m super gentle. She’ll get used to it eventually. At least now she has something to look forward to.

  • Tina

    I am SO needed that workout chart, I think I’ll be printing it out! Just wonder what I can reward myself with that isn’t food! :)

  • Sumiko

    Thanks so much for the awesome charts . . . I feel like they were custom ordered since you nailed the exact things my two year old and I each struggle with (her with getting onto the ol’ elliptical rotting away in the bowels of our garage and me with brushing my teeth!) ;)

    SAJ says: Ha ha! Yeah, those elliptical machines are great jungle gyms aren’t they? Just kidding.

  • erika

    you rock lady. love these ideas :) go go secret agent josephine on the exercise! :) my goal is to work out like i did as a kid and just switch it up everyday. grown up “playing”.

    envious of your beach access. *swoon*

  • leslie

    did you ever try to brush her teeth with a electric toothbrush?
    it helped wonders around here….

    have fun treating yourself:)

    SAJ says: I did! And she’s afraid of the silly thing just like she’s afraid of her motorized motorcycle and automatic flushing toilets. I think she’ll get over it eventually.

  • gingermog

    I’m a big believer in charts and lists too. I think my over achieving started in kindergarden with the gold and silver star thing. My big sister got me to brush my teeth too with a chart. Good idea using one for exercise too. At the moment I am attending powerplate classes to firm up. Apparently one half hour session on them is the equivilant to two hours at the gym… h? Anyway I’m giving it a go. Wobbling my way to firmer thighs :)

  • Uncle George

    I saw those charts when I was down there last Sunday, super cool! Goal setting and tracking progress this early in BB’s life is such a great learning tool for her…What a wonderful parent you are, B. And it’s good for you too, so good luck with the exercise, I know you can do it together.

  • Jinxy

    Thanks for the charts. They are too cute.
    I have always found that having a goal helps me and something visual especially helps. I’m a world class procrastinator.

  • BeachMama

    Very cute charts :). The only way we got J to keep brushing his teeth is by buying him an endless assortment of tooth brushes. It worked great, but replacing them is like the end of the world, tears and tears each and every time.

  • PeskyBlackFly

    Hooray for the exercise charts! I’m going to (try!) using it
    p.s. I just caught up on your blog- and ‘Stop- in the Neighborhood’ made me laugh until I cried!

  • Debra

    hi ! I just had to write when I read ” we have been lax with the tooth brushing” I was the same way with my daughter, I never had a cavity my entire life, and didn’t really have it in my head as a possibility. certainly tooth brushing was part of the routine, but I didn’t make a big deal of it and also blew off flossing. Then my daughter had 3 cavities at the age of 4. It was awful – one was so bad they had to put a silver cap over the whole mess. I was absolutely mortified. Plus the whole experience of having the cavities filled – absolute horror. So , I totally applaud you for setting up a chart, stick with it, it is worth it !! I just wanted to share this story, not to scare you, but to say, gee, I wish I had been as smart as you !

    Bon Chance, Debra

  • OTC

    I love the charts. Thanks so much for putting up the pdf’s. I need to give them all a go, but the potty-training one is especially awesome. I tried and failed with the Pee-Pee Paper, thinking we’d put a sticker and date for each success. Dang thing’s been on the fridge for 2 months now with one sad sticker. Your chart has organization in its favor. We’ll give it a whirl.

    Oh, and your girl is absolutely gorgeous. The sweetest smile ever.

  • Sonja von Franck

    Hey! Wanted to let you know I put the potty and teeth brushing charts up in Jackson’s bathroom. To save ink/paper and “be green” I put them is plastic sleeves – like for a notebook. Then I’m using those Post-It reuseable colored flags instead of stickers. I want to decorate them a little – like glue a star/sparkly thing or put a sticker on them just to make them festive and reuseable. For the teeth brushing one I’m doing yellow for an AM brushing and blue for PM brushing. Then for the potty chart I’m looking at it kindof like a timeline and I ultmately want stickers that say something like, “Good Try”, “Good Pee!”, “Good Poop!” I’ll take a picture if I come up with something good enough! Thanks again!

  • Pamela

    Hi! and thanks for the chart! I am almost 60, so the graphic is not quite age-appropriate, but nevertheless it’s a great reminder! Maybe I will take that 15 minute stroll around the block! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos with us. You are wonderfully creative and your family is truly blessed to have you!

  • Cheney

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, and it just occurred to me that I don’t remember you writing much about your adventures in potty training Bug. Did I miss a crucial few posts, or did you just not blog about it much? I’d love to know how it went, as I am struggling to get my daughter potty trained, and any words of advice or ideas would be great.


  • Miss Virginia

    Thank you so much for the charts! I puffy heart them!! You are so unbelievably creative and talented.

  • Aladyinredpolish

    My sister did this kind of charting with some students she was teaching, but instead of a star she would buy some stickers that the kids would like and they got to pick the one out for that day.. now if you want to go a little greener than going to the store and buying stickers, why not make some on the computer and then print them on sticker paper??? Just an idea, if she gets tired of the drawn stars! I love the adult chart, I’m gonna print it out tomorrow. This is fantastic, thank you!

  • Colleen

    I love your site and love these charts! The toothbrushing one is working fabulously. I am secretly hoping you will create a hairbrushing one too. Another huge issue in our house…