First of all, we'd like to take a moment to thank all of the first users who have tried Smiles & Frowns over our first year or so out of the gate. Our team is small (like two dads small) but our desire to make Smiles & Frowns work great for you is very big.

That's why we're excited to roll out our first major update. After a year-plus of listening to feedback and working with folks to solve problems along the way, we think this update offers plenty of improvements to make the app better than ever.

Here's a quick run-down of the changes you can expect:

 

 

– To begin with, we've added a “Contact Us” option to the More menu, so it’s easier to give us feedback, send us ideas to make things better (which we love to hear) or to report any issues.

– We've added tooltips in key spots to help make setting up boards even easier.

– We've improved the syncing logic, to help make sure everyone is staying in sync better across all of their boards.

– We've added improved bug tracking, so if any crashes or errors do occur – which have been pretty rare – we can find any problems and fix them faster.

– We've updated the Board Manager view to include "Active" and "Available” tabs, so behavior boards are more organized and new boards are easier to preview.

– We've changed the Reports view, so it now creates reports monthly instead of every two weeks. It’s so much easier to read now, and makes reviewing behavior regularly with your kids much more natural.

– We've created an option to reset boards to 0 Smiles, 0 Frowns and 0 Spending Smiles when maxing out cash rewards. This makes it easier to use Smiles & Frowns as a way for kids to "earn" a weekly or monthly allowance. It also makes it easier to start over with a fresh chance for them to succeed whenever you want.

– We've added notifications for occasional updates and reminders. These can really help you keep the “5 Cs” rolling.

– We've lowered the price to buy the full set of boards.

– We've introduced ad-free subscriptions to give you more ways to try this option.

– We've fixed an issue that made the screen “jump” when ads appeared.

 

As we head into 2018, we hope to make many more improvements to make Smiles & Frowns even more useful for everyone out there. We want thank you all again for giving it a chance, and look forward to hearing your feedback in the months ahead!

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re trying to make Smiles & Frowns the best tool to help busy parents and teachers create great behavior plans. If you’ve already tried the app, it’s easy to see how the features are built to support Clarity, Consistency and Collaboration, which are three of our 5 Cs of success.

Reviews

 

With this post, let’s focus on the importance of reviewing progress regularly with your kids. Regular reviews are essential because they give you the space to focus on the Consequence of their behavior. They also give you a chance to reset the scoreboard so the Challenge of earning rewards can start all over again. Hello, Cs 4 and 5!

So what makes for a great review? What might you think about, and how can Smiles & Frowns help you? Here are some tips that we think could make all the difference for you and your kids.

 

 

  1. Be Consistent.

In the “game” of Smiles & Frowns, kids need to see the results and enjoy the rewards that they’ve earned. This is truly a key to success. If you’re not consistent with rewards and reviews, Smiles and Frowns will start to lose their value fast.

So setting a consistent time and place to review progress – whether it’s every Friday after dinner, the first Sunday of every month, or whatever works best for you – helps assure that they’ll connect their behavior with their rewards. It helps keep the “economy of behavior” strong. And having these reviews at regular intervals also helps them see how they’re progressing over time.

  1. Be Specific.

When you tap on your child’s icon on a board, you’ll see their recent history of every Smile and Frown. The main view simply goes back in time, while the other views group behaviors together so you can see trends. You can even export a report as a PDF and print it out to review, if you like.

Use this view to play back their behavior to them specifically. Focus on any particular Smiles or Frowns that really stand out and discuss them.

If you’ve added any notes to a Smile or Frown – a feature we think you’ll love – you’ll see them here. Weeks later, it may be hard to remember what a “great homework” Smile was about. But if added a note like “you rocked the baking soda volcano” to that Smile, you’ll have a specific success story to relive with your child. Try not to miss those opportunities to help your child feel specifically happy and proud.

  1. Be Encouraging.

Remember, a review is really just a conversation about behavior, with lots of real moments you can you can look back on and discuss. Looking back at Smiles is a great way to encourage your kids. Help them feel proud of their good behavior.

But also remember that Frowns shouldn’t be seen as downers. Looking back at the less successful behaviors is a chance to find areas they can work on. You might even talk about how they could turn those Frowns into Smiles next time, for instance. By the next review, you might have some great new success stories to talk about.

  1. Be Inclusive.

If you’ve got more than one child on a board, don’t be afraid to make it a family affair. We would often review all three of our kids at the same time, so they got a sense of how their behavior affected the whole family. This may not work every time, or might not even work for you at all. But it’s something you can try to see how it changes the conversation.

  1. Be Ready to Reset.

There’s no doubt that Smiles & Frowns is meant to be a bit of a game for your child. It’s that sense of Challenge that will keep them coming back for more.

So we’ve made it easy to reset the smile and frown count right after a review. (Don't’ worry, they won’t lose any of their hard-earned spending power!) Just swipe to the left on a child's row in the board detail view, and you'll see the option to reset Smiles and Frowns.

We did this so your kids could start with a clean slate of 0 Smiles and 0 Frowns as they begin working towards the next review. It’s just a better game that way, because it gives them a fresh new chance to “win” by working to earn more Smiles and less Frowns every time..

As we continue to work on Smiles & Frowns, we are going to work hard to make the reviewing features even stronger. We want to help make regular reviews a snap. We’ve got plenty of ideas on this front, but we’d certainly love to hear what you think. If you’ve got any thoughts, please pass them along to heydad@smilesandfrowns.com.

Good luck out there!

Tommy G