No more free toys! Hard work, responsibility, and good habits get you what you want

Since the trip to the ER, I struggled to find a way to get my older daughter to drink enough water (dehydration plus a cold = crusty mucus in chest = potential ER trip – no thank you!) and my little one to have a nap at daycare (no nap = potential tantrums – again, no thank you!) So after asking and nagging about these habits, I finally tried to do a reward system.

I explained to them that this was the only way they were going to get a new toy or something they wanted from now on. That they could only get something on “prize” day when they get to the treasure chest or with their hard earned money.

To my surprise it actually worked! I bought a simple sticker system. A “coin sticker” to put on a path to the treasure chest every time the habit was accomplished for that day. As soon as I picked them up from school, I heard “Mommy, check my water bottle or Mommy, Mommy I had a good nap! I can get a sticker!” They loved getting the sticker and putting it on the map on the way to the treasure chest.

So this turned into another reward map to encourage participating in Taekwondo because they weren’t always exactly excited to do it. Of course, when they didn’t want to do Taekwondo that day, I reminded them they weren’t going to get a sticker if they didn’t participate. So they would, reluctantly, but it got them through.

Then I thought, okay, how can I encourage more behavior? I don’t want to have all these different maps though?

I decided it was time for a chore or responsibility chart.

They would get 25 cents for cleaning up after meals, 50 cents for getting ready on time and doing homework, $1 for laundry, cleaning the room, putting away dishes from the dishwasher, and cleaning the playroom – to start.

As soon as the list was announced, my 5 year old went straight to the playroom to clean up. Since then she cleans up after meals and has been on time! Of course, that’s followed by… “Mommy, can I have my money?” Yes you can honey, good job.

Let’s just say 1, all that change is getting put to good use and 2, I’m going to have to start writing “I owe you” tickets for lack of cash! I do have to make a conscious effort to keep change and dollars on hand now. But I’m ok with that!

I also used this as a way to discourage unwanted behavior. Like not listening. “Honey, I need you to listen or I’m going to start taking money out or take a sticker away.” They moved faster or listened better than you knew they were capable of. My daughter even told me a lie and I immediately said, if you lie again, I’m going to start taking $1 for every lie. I could see in her face that she knew I was serious and acknowledged understanding. So we’ll see.

My older one is thriving on this system, my 3 year old gets it but still takes a bit of reminding. But she absolutely knows how it works, that’s for sure. She’s already claimed one prize.

For the most part, I’m thinking…Hehe this is working out pretty good.

I feel like I’m getting several life lessons out of this system.

1-Earning money or rewards for hard work

2-Money management

3-Consequences

4-Responsibilities

To sum it all up, you can get anything you want if you work hard, are responsible, and have good habits! That sounds about right for adulthood.

Next blog… Now what to do with all that money!! I need to figure out how to teach them money management in way they can understand. Stay tuned!

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