Sep 24, 2010

From Linda's Lips: Give your kids control

Many families with children have their own way of assigning jobs/rewards. Here is something we have come up with over time that is working wonders in our home. I am sure it may change over time as all family plans have to be flexible, but for now we are thrilled with the results! Perhaps it's something you can pull from for your own family.

I was really tired of setting timers for computer time or TV/video game time and nagging my children to turn them off. In fact, I was tired of them asking for it all so often. I really wanted them to be more responsible with their use of time. We decided on some rules and presented them to the kids. They were sooooo excited!
  1. Everyone has jobs they are personally responsible for: making their bed, brushing their teeth, keeping their room clean, taking dirty dishes to the sink, putting their clothes in the hamper, practicing piano, etc...
  2. We also have jobs that help the family. Each person has 2 "stick jobs" everyday. The kids pull two sticks from a bag and they are responsible for those 2 jobs that day. These include: setting the table, unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, clearing and wiping the table, wiping the cupboard fronts, wiping the kitchen table and clearing food/condiments, etc...
  3. On Saturdays, we work as a family, getting bathrooms cleaned, dusting, etc...
  4. When the kids do these jobs without being asked (this takes patient!) they will earn a dollar. The dollars have a fun name in our house that go with our last name. For example, if your last name was Bird, they could be Bird Bucks, or Dempsy Dollars. Catchy and fun for the kids. 
  5. At the end of our day when we come together as a family we go through each job and pass out our dollars. Each child has an envelope holding their money. For our money we altered an image we found online, but I'm sure you can find play money at the dollar store.
  6. Now for the fun part that puts them in control! Each dollar has a value. One dollar is worth 10 minutes of t.v. or computer or video game time OR the dollar is worth 50 cents. The kids get to decide. One rule is that they can only spend 6 dollars a day on electronics. 
The kids love having the control and they are soooo stingy about spending their money! My oldest (nine years) is saving up for the Lego Harry Potter game, so he never spends more than 2 dollars a day on electronics. My twin 5 year olds and my 3 year old are also very into this. The 3 year old doesn't quite grasp it all, but she loves earning her dollars! When the timer beeps now, they know if they don't turn off the screen, it means I get another dollar from them. I've never seen kids walk away from a TV so fast, or practice the piano, or clean up without being asked. They are developing great habits! I love that they have control and they are learning how to save in the process. As for me, my nagging moments have decreased by leaps and bounds!


Sue said...

Okay, Linda from Taste of Champaign. You are a mothering genius!


Kierstin said...

Thank you SO much for taking the time to share this, this is wonderful!! Thank you!!

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