Our First Crack at Positive Rewards and Chore Charts

We’ve been dealing with some issues lately that we finally figured out how to handle in a way that works for us and is manageable.  Of course, we’ve been doing this only for about a week.

Here were the things we needed to take into consideration when choosing our strategy:

  1. Adding positive rewards to our discipline strategy. Sticker charts mean diddly to Jaron (other than the scripture memorization chart, which he digs for whatever reason).
  2. System simple and interesting for all of us.
  3. Fun way for him to teach household responsibilities and extra chores to earn rewards.
  4. Addressing some persistent behavior issues like whining, aggression toward his sister, and begging.
  5. Hate to admit this publicly, but we were letting him watch way too much TV and use his iPhone (yeah, I know… it’s an old one of my husbands that is not set up to make calls).

So here’s what we came up with after researching ideas online and asking some friends experienced in this sort of thing:

Chore Chart

I got the idea (and printouts) for our chore chart from the Homeschool Creations blog. Visual, interactive, easy to maintain, and I already had the required materials on hand.

The “regular” chores we currently give him are:

  • Brushing his teeth
  • Making his bed
  • Devotions/Quiet time
  • Cleaning up before naptime or bed time

I also give him three or four “earning” chores, choosing among options like:

  • Feeding the cat
  • Tidying up the shoe area by the front door
  • Helping fold laundry
  • Helping gather clothes for laundry
  • Washing windows
  • Sweeping
  • Clearing the table
  • Setting the table
  • Helping unload the dishwasher
  • Watering the plants
  • Vacuuming (dust buster)
  • And so on

Of course, these are done with help and/or supervision and to the degree a 3 year old can do them. He loves it. 🙂 He really does many more besides what he is assigned. He is more interested now in helping with whatever I’m doing, not only because of the rewards, but because he’s doing “big boy stuff”.

The chore chart is in a location easy for him to reach. Every night I reset it and the next morning he comes down and takes a look. There’s a row for morning chores, one for afternoon chores, and a third row for “earning” chores. Each of the chores is represented by a small card that has a picture and word description on one side and a star on the other. There is a piece of velcro on both sides of the card to attach it to the chart. When he finishes a chore, he flips it over! Which leads me to what he earns…

Positive Rewards

I’d heard of kids being rewarded for good behaviors with stickers, treats, or filling up a jar with things like marbles or even little rubber snakes or toys. This is what we did: We went to the dollar store and got some craft pom poms. I took a plain vase I had around the house, tied a red pipe cleaner to the top (as a fill mark) and put a basket full of the pom poms next to it. We started calling them “warm fuzzies”  – it makes Jaron happy, but I gotta say it’s a weird thing to add to your daily vocabulary!

Jaron gets to add a warm fuzzy to the jar every time he does something good:

  • He recites his memory verse
  • He stops begging right away when we ask
  • He stops whining right away when we ask, or handles a “no” without whining
  • Says “yes Mommy” or “yes Daddy” without prompting
  • Says “please” without prompting (he has thank you down pat)
  • Does one of his “earning” chores
  • Does something remarkably kind for Samantha or handles conflict without physical aggression
  • Whatever else seems worthy to us at the time

He has to move a warm fuzzy back to the basket when he does something bad:

  • He doesn’t complete a regular chore for the day (and it was is in control to finish it)
  • He begs
  • He whines
  • He throws a fit
  • He’s disobedient or disrespectful to us
  • Is unkind to Samantha
  • He throws things he’s not supposed to

Your kids do these things sometimes too, right? 😉

When the warm fuzzies fill the jar, he gets to pick a movie to watch. We did also establish a movie Friday where we pick an “educational” movie to watch. This coming week will be Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. 🙂 But that’s all the tv he gets. So far it’s working well for all of us. If he wants to buy some special (albiet cheap) toy or other treat, he can choose that instead of his special movie.

We also added a simplified version in the car. It was too hard to deal with the warm fuzzy system when the jar and the pompoms were at home. We have a parking tag hanging from our rearview mirror for church (for family parking), so we took three big colorful paper clips and put them in a cup holder. When he does something good, we add one to the tag. When he does something bad, we take one away. When he earns three, he gets to use his phone during the next car trip. That is also working well for us.

Keep in mind, we’re not replacing any of our current discipline standards. This is just a supplement. We still have “consequences” especially for things like hitting, direct disobedience, and a couple of other things we’ve flagged as a super big deal. Only time will tell if this positive rewards system will hold his interest long enough.

A friend of mine told me today that he heard that random rewards for good behavior were often more effective than scheduled ones. That makes some sense, so we’ll probably do it by suddenly deciding reward a particularly good day by going for ice cream, a trip to the dollar store to pick out a toy, a surprise trip to see his cousin, or something like that. Jaron would love that and it would be fun for us too.

To make the chart:

  1. Go here and download and print the chart(s) you want. Print out the card pages as well.
  2. Stick stars on the back sides of the cards. I forgot to do this and did it after laminating and they kind of catch at the sticker edges sometimes.
  3. Laminate the charts and card pages. Cut the cards out.
  4. Put velcro on either side of the card and on the chart so the child can easily flip and attach when needed.

Hope this information is useful for someone out there! 😀

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About GirlDuck

I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves Jesus. I am married to an amazing man, Aaron, and I have three fantastic kids. I write this blog mostly to share information with others, record things for my own future reference, and pour out just a bit of my heart.
This entry was posted in Kids, Parenting Issues and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Our First Crack at Positive Rewards and Chore Charts

  1. Pingback: How We’re Doing | Proverbial Girl Duck

  2. Amelia says:

    I really like the chore chart idea! I might have to give this a try, as well as the warm fuzzy jar. Sawyer LOVES watching TV but I’m not a fan. I like the idea of TV being a reward.

  3. Pingback: Our First Jesse Tree | Proverbial Girl Duck

  4. karlamcurry says:

    Love this idea! I’ve begun to more intensively look for homeschool resources, and have already come across Homeschool Creations. I plan to start an “official” preschool curriculum with my almost-4-year-old this month, and have been looking for some sort of chore chart. I thought something with flip cards might work well, but when I saw this, I realized she has an affinity for velcro (she loved it in a lapbook I made for her). I’m on my way to print out the chart stuff, and I think I may implement your “warm fuzzies” – what a great idea! And I already have tons of pom poms. 🙂 It not only applies to the daily chores, but to your child’s overall attitude. Love it!

  5. karlamcurry says:

    PS – How has the system worked for you?

  6. Pingback: Chore Chart for Kiddos | Karla M Curry

  7. GirlDuck says:

    Hi Karla! So glad you can use it for your little one! It’s worked really well for us. The main challenge has been us keeping consistent on it so that it becomes more of a real habit for the kids. I’m thinking that we might have little lanyards for each kid with their chores in them and they can put them on during chore times, putting the Velcro cards on the board as they finish. I started having them put their clothes for the next morning in little baskets by their front door, so I’d probably put the lanyards in there.

    The warm fuzzies idea also worked well, but I think that switching the objects sometimes will help. Perhaps a different object each month. I also started using a smaller jar soon after starting this approach because it took too long to get a reward. It’s all about keeping their interest! Once they “mastered” a chore or behavior, they were expected to continue it from then on out as a habitual responsibility, and we started on a new goal.

    Have fun!

    P.S. I am no longer adding posts to this site and have started blogging at proverbialhomemaker.com. I’d love it if you’d stop by and say hello!

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