mommy thoughts: chore chart and reward system

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I don't know about other moms, but I was having such a difficult time getting my daughter to brush her teeth in the morning. I can ask Miss C to brush her teeth and remind her a bazillion times. She'll retreat to the bathroom and 10 minutes later, still not be done. "Oh, I have to go potty," "I'm just washing hands!" "I have to rearrange my bows in my bow holder" "I have to wash my barbie's hair!" After many many mornings of expasperation, I looked online for reward charts and methods. There are a ton ideas out there on different mommy or craft blogs. Here are a few ideas that inspired me:
Pom Pom Reward Jar from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
DIY washi tape reward jars by Omiyage
Reward System by Signature Moms

Most of the chore charts I've seen are too complicated or too simple for my 5 year old. She does help us clean on cleaning days (typically Saturday morning), and she does not have chores yet with the exception of picking up her toys and making her bed.  After searching online for printable chore charts and trying to make my own custom chore chart, I stumbled upon one at a local Once Upon a Child, a consignment store chain. It is a simple chore chart with reusable stickers: make bed, bath/shower, comb hair, brush teeth, pick up toys and be happy (good days vs. tantrum/whiny filled day). The only thing I had to customize on it was added an extra line on the brush teeth squares because we brush our teeth in the morning and at night.  
She gets a heart for every item that gets done.
On Sunday or Monday evenings, she counts the hearts she accumulated that past week. 1 heart = 1 pom. She then counts out the poms on the floor, and recounts them as she's putting the poms in the reward jar (Bonus: Miss C gets to practice counting numbers!)

Now the reward jar. There are 4 reward levels, each level takes almost about a week's worth of poms (if she gets most her hearts for the week.) Level 1 is a RedBox movie. Reward level 2 would be a local frozen yogurt store where you can pick your own flavor and add as much toppings as you wish. Reward level 3 is cash, I'm thinking about $5-10 (I haven't decided yet). Which is okay because she really wants to get to reward level 4 which is a bowling OR a movie night. If she wants to redeem a reward, we empty the jar and all the poms go back to the bag and she starts fresh. 
The poms are not just directly from the hearts. I'm trying to also catch her good behavior (doing extra nice things, being super good at different occasions) and add poms to the jar accordingly. On the contrary, we also threaten (and have taken away) poms as consequences for poor choices. A warning and a threat of taking poms (no more than 5 at a time) away usually curbs most tantrums or whining.

My husband and I are debating whether or not to tie in thumbsucking "rules/rewards". Maybe a pom for each hour that she's awake she's not sucking her thumb? I don't know yet, I just thought of this as I'm typing this.

Right now, she's trying to save up for that movie. Hopefully, she fills up that jar soon, because Mommy really wants to see Finding Nemo in 3D! :)

(Note: The reward does not replace any of our father/daughter dates, 
or mommy/me girls only days, or family fun dates.) 

So far its working for Miss C. I can't say that all morning and bedtimes routines go without a hitch, but there is a slight improvement in the "S" household! :)

What works for you and your kids? What do you use to encourage kids to do basic things like brushing teeth to household chores?

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