After trying multiple methods, my husband and I finally landed on a rewards system that works for our 2 young children. As a bonus, it has also becomes the means through which they can earn their own money! Two important lessons in one simple system.
If you are anything like me, there are some days when I feel like my kiddos are on a mission to drive me up a wall. They are arguing…they are not listening…they won’t do their homework…they won’t even go to be easy and give me some kind of respite from the day!
And if you are anything like me, these days occur a little more frequently than I care to admit.
But before you read ANYTHING else, let me reassure you a bit first…THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL!
Kids are kids are kids. They aren’t trying to drive us batty. They aren’t even intentionally disobeying…it’s all in the natural course of them growing and learning and pushing boundaries to see exactly what will be allowed. What is okay and what isn’t.
And what better place to get those feelers out than in the loving embrace of a safe home and loving parents.
IT’S STILL OUR JOB
That said…it is still our job – our mission even – to guide these little people and teach them how to listen. To show them what a healthy sibling relationship looks like. And to teach them that even when we aren’t watching every little move, the world has an uncanny way of working rewards/punishments into our daily lives.
So like Every.parent.everywhere my husband and I had tried several different methods of encouraging positive behavior.
We tried time outs.
We tried taking away sweets.
We tried taking away playdates.
We tried guilt and bribery.
NONE of these lasted more than a few minutes, hours, at most a day. We weren’t getting to the heart of teaching our children good behavior…
That good behavior is NOT something we wanted to remind them of but something we wanted instilled in their hearts.
Believe it or not, our current rewards system was an offshoot from Christmas.
Ah Christmas…that time of year when no matter how much you spend on your child, there is always one more thing they want (and discover it 2 weeks later).
My typical response to my girls when they ask for something outside of their birthday or Christmas is to say…you can ask for it at your birthday or Christmas.
But that response is a lot less popular when Christmas is 353 days away and
your birthday is in April =)
So here was our conundrum – two little girls we loved beyond measure but couldn’t get to listen and get along as much as we would like. AND two little girls who wanted more things than we would buy them but ZERO money to do it with.
We certainly didn’t want to tie chores to an allowance. You can read my thoughts on this here:
But I did realize we could link behavior and money in a frugal yet practical way that would likely yield great results.
And boy was I ever right?!
The next day I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up some simple reward charts. They have an amazing selection of “teacher supplies.” If you want to order some cute ones from Amazon, I love these sticker charts:
Carson Dellosa Owls Mini Incentive Charts (148009)
I labeled one sheet for each daughter. And like anything new brought into the house that even remotely resembled crafts, my girls were eager to know all about it.
I explained that we were starting a new behavior chart and here were the rules:
1- Stickers could be earned by any behavior that was out of the ordinary or even just ordinary but showed an improvement. For example, turning off the tv the first time I asked would earn a sticker. Sharing a beloved toy with her sister would earn a sticker. Being respectful and kind to me or their dad would not.
2- Anyone who asked for a sticker after doing something would NOT earn one.
3- Stickers could easily be taken away for behavior that was the opposite of what would earn one.
4- There was no limit to stickers that could be earned in a day and no minimum promised.
5- 10 stickers resulted in $1.50 earnings added to their bag.
Simple and straight forward. The rules weren’t confusing. The rewards chart stays on our fridge door so that their progress is easily seen.
And the amazing part?! It works! Immediately I began to see a change in their behavior. The bickering lessoned. The sharing increased. The listening improved.
And because I stuck with my rule that a sticker could indeed be lost, there was a real sense of accomplishment in earning those stickers back.
And now my kids are also learning about saving their money for something that they truly want. Initially Hannah wanted to know if she could get ice cream with her first $1.50. I told her she could OR she could save for something she REALLY wanted.
Guess what? She’s been saving for a cool new Lego Friends set
LEGO Friends Heartlake Summer Pool 41313 Building Kit
I really hope that this simple system works for you as well as it has for us!!