Reward? Take a Ticket

Many years ago I bought a big roll of tickets at Wal*mart.  You know the kind…like the ones used for raffles and at some fairs for the rides.  I don’t think I spent more than about $5 and still have over half of them left.

On them I wrote small rewards for the kids.

Here are a few that we used:

  • Stay up an extra 30 minutes
  • Pick an extra book at bedtime
  • Choose supper
  • Pick a dessert
  • Choose a game for the family to play
  • Get a movie at the library
  • Watch an extra cartoon
  • Choose from the grab bag**
  • A trip to the ice cream store for a cone
  • Sleep in
  • A free day…mom does your chores
  • Craft time with mom
  • A bike ride with dad

** the grab bag contained fun little things that I picked up at the dollar store, garage sales or thrift stores.

Inexpensive ideas for the grab bag:

  • Hot wheels
  • nail polish
  • stickers
  • pencil
  • new crayons
  • bookmark
  • small ball
  • temporary tattoos
  • bracelet
  • gum
  • sucker
  • dollar bill

We would award points or stickers on a chart for chores done and occasionally going above and beyond expectations in either extra jobs or great attitudes.  When the required number of points had been earned the kids got to pick a ticket. It is important to make sure you aren’t setting them up to fail.  The number of points needed for a ticket should be attainable in an appropriate amount of time for the child.  Yet not so easy that they are always getting a reward.  Anywhere from a few days to a week is a good time frame for young ones. And with good behavior they earn it faster…closer to the few days, doing the minimum it takes a week or so.

How to deal with poor attitudes and refusal to do chores? I don’t recommend taking points away.  It undoes what they accomplished (just like I don’t recommend redoing a chore that doesn’t quite meet your standards…it’ll need done soon enough, just do it yourself then or help them the next time).  We tend to withhold privileges until chores are done.  No screen time or favorite toys until the chores are done.

Here in the SimpleHome we don’t attach allowances to regular household chores either.  We truly want the kids to understand that we live here together so we work here together.

There are a few jobs we pay them to do. Today in fact, I am paying 25 cents per full ice cream bucket of weeds.  Having taken out the sod along one fence-line in the backyard and not having mulched it yet…well, it’s full of weeds.  Tomorrow is yard waste pick-up in my neighborhood so this is a one day offer to the kids.  So far they have each filled their bucket four times.  They plan to go out again in a little while and pull more weeds.  It’ll cost me a few dollars but my rewards are two-fold.  I won’t have to pay for the pack of gum they want next time we go to the store and I didn’t have to pull any of those weeds.  A win-win in my book.  In the fall, when we had apple trees I used to pay a penny for each apple picked up off the ground.  I never realized how many fell until the kids were counting them!

I think rewards are a good motivator if they aren’t relied on so heavily that it’s hard to make out what you had hoped to  teach your child by starting chores in the first place.  And around here, tickets work great.

What creative things have you used as rewards?

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