Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Evil Plan is Working -or- Children's Summer Rewards Plan


What?  You can't tell my you don't spend hours in the shower coming up with schemes to trick your kids into being perfect angels?  I mean, of course, hours cumulatively accrued over several days of showers.  Even I have not found a way to hide in the bathroom for hours at a time.

Surely you too sit up in bed, wide awake, when new evil plans strike?  Jump with joy at the excuse to use spreadsheets?  Just know that this time you've discovered the holy grail of reward systems that will make the kids beg you to do their chores, never think of fighting, and keep a spotless room.

It can't be just me, because that would make me odd.  Almost as odd as falling in love with a laminator or keeping stacks of failed job charts lying around to remember all your other brilliant ideas that were really more like semi-burned out ones.  But let's not go there.

So anyway, I've been trying to perfect my *Put Beads in a Jar as a Source of Rewards* technique since I introduced it- and shortly thereafter abandoned it- almost a year ago.  Mixing in an idea spurred from the ever brilliant Momza, I think I may have finally succeeded.  (The post I am referring to seems to have disappeared or I would link to it- *updated- Momza found the post for me- I told you she is brilliant- so now it is all properly linked)

How can I be so sure it is working you ask?  Let me show you how I measure my success thus far:
  •  My children were fighting today over who "got" to take out the garbage.
  • Kids are begging me to assign them chores in the morning 
  • The mention of special, extra chores are met with cheers.  
  • I went several days without the kids asking to use the TV or computer 
  • I have yet to hear, "I'm bored." 


    So anyway, that's how I've spent my first week and a half of summer.  I'll see you later.





    You want to know what I've done?  Oh, all right. Just because I love you.

    The Actual Plan

    I printed out a couple pages of requirements with assigned value.  For instance, getting chore and bedroom finished before breakfast are each worth a certain amount (3 and 2 marbles respectively).  Reading a book to Matthew is worth a marble (max of 2/day).  Brushing teeth, sorting socks, unloading dishwasher- all assigned value.

    Then there is the list of Costs.  These are things I don't want to happen and cost them marbles.  Things like yelling(-2), not completing chores(-5), leaving our shoes(-1), etc.

    Finally there is the list of Options, or things for which they can exchange their marbles and are working toward.

    Each child has a jar with their own color of marbles.

    More on How Well it is Working:

    I'm telling you it is the best plan EVER.  Some kids watch TV or eat snacks every day.  Others are super savers, waiting for the money.  They all only lose marbles a couple times before they really start trying to remember the rules.  They are learning about budgeting and moderation, that work equals pay, that delayed gratification is worth waiting for.

    This morning we decided to get the ice cream treat they'd saved for, only one child (the one who had a couple fits yesterday and lost too many marbles) was short SIX marbles.  He never did a chore so quickly.  Not to mention the joy at being offered an extra chore for the lacking numbers.

    I repeat, JOY for GETTING to do an EXTRA chore.

    Also, Matthew has been read a dozen books a day.  The girls room is working on a record for number of days clean.  The TV is staying off most of the time without any complaints.  I'm hoping I can keep it up, because I'm liking my summer plan so far.

    Here is a list of my current award chart, although remember it is still a work in progress.

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    1. Ah HA! I found it!

      So glad you could use an idea or two from my life! At least someone is! lol

    2. Does Peter get marbles?

    3. Where did you find all the different colors of marbles? Course the only place I have available to look is Wal-Mart....

      It's funny how a simple visual of a jar with marbles really gets the kids to do what they are supposed to!

    4. ok so this idea is awesome! I have never done it like that. I am so doing this!! Thanks Charlotte! and Momza!

    5. Wow almost makes me wish I still had kids home to try it out on, maybe it would work on Dad. Glad you found something to make summer fun.

    6. If there was an Evil Genius Mom award, I would so give it to you!! This system clearly rocks! I'll have to file it in the deep recesses of my brain (or somewhere on my computer) for later use when we have our own kids someday :)

    7. Yup this one definitely qualifies you as a freaking genius. Thanks for sharing. I love spreadsheets!

    8. My husband's father's day gift was a golf mat with golf net. The kids are in golf lessons this summer and love to go out in the backyard to play with it. My husband just wanted to make sure they didn't forget how much fun it was.

    9. groan... great idea - is it bad to admit that I'm pretty sure it's too late for my family to be a productive one?

      we actually do something similar (only with poker chips)... with mixed results!

    10. I JUST Started a new point system which earns "activities"-- but I am loving the consequence part of yours so I'll be adding some to mine. I also wasn't sure how to make a chart to record how many points are earned--so the rocks are awesome! THANKS!

    11. This is fabulous! I'm filing it for when my kids are old enough to count. In the meantime, could you design one for me? So many marbles for cleaning the toilets earns me ice cream, or blog time, or something like that?

    12. I love it when a good plan comes together.

    13. Hey, my sister suggested that I try a plan EXACTLY like this. It is working great for me. Wait a minute....did you rip off this idea from her?? How rude.

    14. You clever little thing, you! This is the kind of stuff I use in my classroom. Rewarding for the good as opposed to scolding for the bad. It is the best way to shape behavior. Nice job!

    15. You are a parenting genius and stuff.

      True story... I honestly wonder how you do it with some many kids. I think you must be superwoman

    16. I did this two summers ago and it rocked. I have not gotten it together enough to do since then (big move last summer and then well, just pure craziness this summer).

      You inspire me to get it together. Even if it's already July. Never too late!

    17. Not only do I need this system for my kids, but I need it for ME! Pretty coloured marbles for each chore I do? Sounds like it might have potential. Hahha!

    18. I am so in love with this plan, I could marry it...or you...whichever comes first. I am going to copy you exactly...except the golf ball part...& try this on my boys. I cannot wait to go buy the marbles on Monday! Thanks for being a complete genius!!!

    19. Charlotte, my daughter's 2nd grade teacher did this with the class all year - they were all in on one gigantic marble jar so they were all invested in each other's behavior. Each time they filled it, and they filled it TWICE!, they got a pj day and pizza party, so it was a pretty big deal.

      I liked that momza's post talks about motivating the teens too since some of her kids are older, that's good for me with a nearly fifteen year old. But he can always be tempted with Xbox time as I know. I have the clean toilets to prove it!

    20. You are the MOm of the Year. I started a "marble" thing very similar but set no values. It has failed miserably. You are an inspiration. I will live to conquer another day!

    21. This is awesome Charlotte. I'm totally going to do it! OK, I'm at least going to try. :)

    22. what an awesome idear. i am going to try it, too!

      any other suggestions on how to make my children (almost) perfect are always welcome.

      i am off to the dollar store... :)

    23. Gabrielle Valentine7/12/10, 10:57 PM

      This is a fabulous idea! I can't wait to try it as mine get older. I could make a small, less detailed version now, that would probably work with their attention spans. I'm glad this is working out for you. Something has to with so many kids! You need a little peace/organization for yourself here and there!

    24. We do something similar, though we do it rather inconsistently...
      But "Hit 25 golf balls"?! They get rewarded for that? I'm assuming that's an outdoor "chore" :-)

    25. Ok, I'm a little slow... or I have a bad habit of do they each have their own jar and do you remove/add the beads for each kid? Great idea!

    26. LOVE it! We have a token system that we use like this. They earn tokens for stuff we want them to learn and do and they pay for stuff they like! But I hadn't thought about adding payment for behavior I don't like, like yelling and stuff! LOVE it. Totally adding this to our payment list!

    27. I can't believe that I'm the first to comment on how collecting your kids' marbles is helping you to not lose yours.

      I have to ask: is that really your entire chore list? We have a similar system, but there are more jobs. In ours, each child is responsible for a room for the week (bathroom, van, family room, etc.) in addition to the personal hygiene, bedroom maintenance, helping in the yard/garden, and dinner clean-up. And I can still barely keep up with my own chores!

      We call our system "Bean Points" because the kids used to accumulate beans; but the beans got spilled too many times, so now I just keep a notebook with tally marks for each child. On Mondays, I pull down a box of prizes that cost bean points and they go shopping. Besides dollar store finds, the Bean Store also has coupons for a walk with Mom or Dad, a spa-treatment bubble bath, a pedicure from Mom (I have four girls), etc.

      You're right. It really works well. We've been going strong since March and the older kids are good about finishing their jobs without my nagging. Love it!