Now that Abby and Bree are old enough Matt and I decided they are perfectly capable of pulling their own weight around here. Actually we were just trying to come up with a solution to better manage those oh so lovely whining sessions while teaching a few character traits as well. My genius husband (see this post) came up with this idea and we all love it. Let me explain the concept.
Each child has a jar (we let them make their own)
Mommy has a rewards basket filled with goodies from the dollar bins at various stores. Each reward has a value placed on it. Inside the basket are items ranging from pieces of gum to chocolate-covered granola bars to gummy bears to small bath toys to a set of sidewalk chalks to books to craft kits to princess figurines…all the way up to really sweet items, like a Dr Seuss DVD to the amazing voice magnifying soop-a-staaah -microphones to wind up fishing games. Everything is priced appropriately and remains in the box until someone buys it…or I eat it, which has been known to happen.
Each child has the choice of saving up the tickets or “cashing” them in for rewards (whenever mommy remembers usually once or twice a week).
What I love about it is, it’s totally flexible and can be used in different ways to achieve the objective you want. It also teaches the little hooligans valuable lessons about contributing to the machine of a household, the benefits of being a kind, caring, civilized human being, as well as the value of saving (vs. spending) money.
I think it has helped them to see that when everyone chips in, the house is a much more hospitable and harmonious place. Plus, it eliminates the mommy nagging All. Day. Long. AND it doesn’t take long for one of the kids to watch their sib buy things at the reward basket before they get with the program.
The idea is, each week when the reward basket is open, the kids have to decide whether they want to blow whatever tickets they’ve earned that week…or save it and let it accumulate over a period of weeks in order to buy one of the nicer items in the box. It’s always fun watching the minds of my three year olds churn each week as they internally evaluate whether to give in to the immediate temptation of the candy and gum, or save their shekels for something better.
We’ve been using this system for over a month now and I think the system is working beautifully. Or maybe I just have really great kids. Well, yeah, I do have really great kids. Now I have really great kids that pull their own stinkin’ weight around here. Just kidding. I love my kids very much and I’m quite proud of them.