Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Reward System - The In-Home Store

Now that James is 4 he's become really quite helpful around the house. Some of his "chores" include assisting with the laundry, feeding the cats, making his bed, cleaning his room, and distributing toys and other mislaid items back to where they belong in the house. Once the baby comes we've explained to him that we'll be expecting him to help out even more (he is SO excited about this new responsibility!). His endless energy and cheerful desire to help has been greatly appreciated by this very pregnant mama. I can't tell you how much waddling around the house he's saved me from doing!

We decided to reward James' contributions by giving him a quarter each time he helps out in a big way. He doesn't get a quarter for EACH thing he does since we want him to understand that things like making his bed and cleaning his room are his responsibility and things he simply must do as a member of this household.

My husband bequeathed to James a very special wallet that he himself made as a child. It's in this wallet that James saves his coins and up until now they've just been collecting there. Initially I told him we could go to the store someday and he could choose something to buy. Thanks to our recent Money Matters lesson, he now understands the concept of money and buying things.

Then I saw this idea on The Idea Room and was totally inspired. I set to work slightly modifying it to create a version that will work for us. Here's what I came up with....

~our in-home store~

Inside of this basket are various items which James can buy with his quarters. I opted to include very few food items (I'm just so wary about using food as a reward) and what edibles I did chose are healthy. I found just about everything you see at our local dollar store. Some of it is from my own stash as I've long been in the habit of keeping books, stickers and other simple items on hand for those rainy days or those 'I-completely-forgot-to-buy-something-for-so-and-so's-birthday' days. : )

All of the items are color coded with star stickers. This tag is attached to the basket as a price key. I priced things in such a way that James can choose to buy something straight away after receiving a quarter or he can choose to save up for a more expensive item. I think this will give him a great introduction to saving since there are actually very few items that are just a quarter.

The options for what to include in an in-home store are limitless! For those interested, here's a list of what's inside our store:
:: Go Fish card game
:: Various sticker sheets
:: Grow capsules
:: Paint your own wooden snake kit
:: Cat pencil
:: A book
:: Markers
:: A die cast airplane
:: A bag of unpopped popcorn
:: Welch's fruit snacks (large and small bags)
:: ABC silly bandz
:: Super balls
:: Stretchy bugs
:: Set of 5 small frogs
:: Game of Jacks
:: Mickey Mouse keychain
:: Mini tubs of playdough
:: A bottle of bubbles
:: Ping pong balls
:: Paper clips with magnetic container (James is SO into magnets right now)
:: Alphabet stencils
:: A glow stick (in orange, James' favorite color!)
:: Mini play scene
:: Mickey Mouse stationary set
:: Individual balloons

We'll replenish only once all of the items have been purchased. I'm curious to see how this system will work out and which of the things James really likes.

One final thought: I know to some this looks like just a big basket of "junk" and others may even think that rewarding a child in such a way is wrong. To that I say: "To each his own". I'll admit I'm not a big fan of plasticy toys and knick knacks, but I chose items that I knew would be interesting to James and my intent is for him to learn about responsibility, helping others, and money matters in the process. And I should also note that we are always sure to thank James for his efforts with hugs and praise. :)

~Thank you for your comments!~


Andi said...

Great Idea. And of course we should reward our kids - we get rewarded after all when we work, with our pay packet. I love the idea, it nice and quick and visual. I think it might work in our house too.

Michelle said...

Really cute, fun and educational. I have a friend who does a similar concept at Halloween where she let's her kids exchange candy for toys, books and other items. 2 pieces of candy, 3 pieces and such are the pricing options. I've been working on a chore chart for my two little ones. They both love helping out and we've been doing the same giving them some coins, sometimes just a penny here and there for helping out and being consistant. I hope to have the chore charts, printed, laminated and assembled and ready for use by the end of Sept.

Mandi Presley said...

I'm curious how you will distinguish between those "expected" tasks and the "biggies" that will reward him with a quarter. Do you have a list or a chart that you use as a guide?

Counting Coconuts said...

Hi Mandi,

It's our own personal discretion and instinct, really. No chart or list. As I mentioned, things like taking care of his own space are duties we would consider "expected". When he runs around the house dropping several things off here and there because I'm unable to do it, well I consider that a big help.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

We are really struggling with rewards here, because I noticed that our daughter is extremely motivated by rewards. She will go above and beyond to earn a prize or money, but when we tried a reward system we noticed that she expected a reward each time she invested any amount of effort into any activity, even in a game, so we scrapped it. We are thinking of allowance that is not related to performance to help her learn a value of money. I am still contemplating as to whether she can earn more for some specific activities. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Love this idea!! Thanks for sharing this!

Danielle said...

That's a great idea! I'll have to remember it for after my son learns about money. :)
Mama Dani

Joyful Learner said...

Great idea! I'm not a big fan of rewarding for every behavior or chore. But this looks like fun and would make a great teaching tool! Since K already helps around the house with no rewards, maybe I'll use it to ask her to come up with ideas to earn a quarter or two.

Packer Family said...

We have a store for our four year old too! He loves it and he get's dimes to save up all week and then Friday is "payday" He loves it and I think it's important to reward the older sibling like that:) He really does do a lot for me in my pregnant state and he already has three little siblings:) He loves to help and I want to keep that love alive:) Great Idea!

Olives and Pickles said...

Well I guess this could be fun for James..It is so nice to ask them for help....because mommy really need it : )

Thanks for sharing sweet mama!

Clutter-Free Classroom said...

My son was 4 when our twins were born and we created, "Big Brother Bucks." He also had a wallet. We made a menu of things he could buy. They were all in the form of special outings or 1:1 time with just mommy or daddy. It was fun to see him save up.

❤Jodi from...
★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
Helping Teachers Get Organized

Amber said...

I think this is a great idea. I love the fact that to him it will seem like a reward, but there are really valuable lessons about money being learned! It is great to start early with those lessons. My son is about to turn 2, so I'm going to put this in my "to-do" pile for when he is old enough. Thanks!

Christine said...

I love the idea! Especially how you encouraged saving. At 2 1/2 we are not quite there but I will be tucking this idea away for sure!!

Brooke said...

Awesome Idea!

Jennifer Jain said...

I love this idea, it's a great way to teach children the difference between an instant reward and the value of saving up for something. My son isn't old enough yet to understand but I'll definitely be using it when he is.

Also, I think it's great that you are happy to admit that James plays with plastic junk! And as for it being wrong to reward or bribe a child for doing things around the house, well very few of us would go out to work if we weren't being paid for it, we all need rewards!

Vanessa said...

Get out of my head, Mari-Ann!! LOL This is the second time today that I've been pondering an approach to something for my boy, and *scroll scroll scroll* you've come up with a fabulous idea.

Now, I'm thinking of.............

....and GO! :-)

mousedroppings said...

Mari-Ann I love this idea! I tried a reward/sticker chart with my daughter who is almost four but it didn't work for us. She just lost interest. We have had some success with random "treats" (books, colouring pens, felt games, etc), but I like this idea more because it gives her the choice of not only of what she would like to buy but when.

Thank you!!

And my very best wishes for the new baby!

Bri Sin said...

I absolutely love this idea! I love that it gives James control over his earnings and rewards, but also allows you to a little bit of control over what he spends money on (until he's old enough to really understand what is worth spending on). i love that you guys use real money with it, too! And as far as plastic junk goes: It holds its value in its own way. We have plenty of it. Why? It's cheap and some of it is fun and/or educational.

This idea is def a keeper. I was really worried about what little ones would do with money, but I still think early financial education is important. This hit the nail on the head! Thanks!

Belledancr - becky said...

we've been doing something similar since i saw it on the picky apple. it's not something we talk about or bring up every day. but whene she has an exceptional day (no whining or crying to get her way); goes above & beyond with helping clean up her toys, or behaves in in a mannerly "big girl way" she gets a reward bead (she has a small jelly jar at her desk that holds her awarded reward beads). when she gets 5 reward beads, she gets to pick a prize out of a prize basket. They are small little toys that i purchased here and there with her likes in mind and so far it has gone over very well ($10.00 & under). Naters is 47 months old.

Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

Fantastic idea! We have something similar but I never did get around to "pricing" the items. I like the star sticker system you used. I think I might have to steal that idea! I give my girls coupons and they can save them up to "purchase" something from my small cabinet of goodies.

Esther Asbury said...

What a fun basket and such a great idea!

Unknown said...

I Love the color coded star stickers! ingenious!

Elizabeth said...

I like the idea. We've done a structured system with our kids- with a chore list, specific amount for each chore and then they get paid Saturday evening for everything done that week- but our kids are older to the point where they want to spend money at the store 7 and 8 years old. This seems like a great system for little kids.

mommyizakrubisquisy said...

my son is 5. He's been helping with his little.sisters. I will keep this in mind. I was giving him a quarter or 2 for helping out and he would buy a pencil at school but this sounds better thanks

Unknown said...

This is a great idea. I think I want to implement this idea into my classroom but with fake money. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog, and I love this idea! We have a sticker system where every 10 stickers earns a "prize" (mostly dollar store items for us too!). I think that our now-5 year old can certainly benefit from us tweaking our current system and using yours as a base for a new one. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Brilliant idea! I love this and will have to try it at home.


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