The token jar is nothing new, lots of parents use this kind of tool with their kids. We’ve gone with different variations of this over the years, but the premise has always been the same: good behavior means more tokens earned, bad behavior means no tokens earned. It’s as simple as that.
But we’ve come along with a little twist, and it’s been working wonderfully.
Here’s how we do it:
Each child has the opportunity to earn multiple tokens a day, in several different ways. At lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime we evaluate behavior. If the kids were good, with good attitudes and kind hearted behavior they’ll earn a token. Evaluating throughout the day helps us to stay consistent with them, and helps them to remember that their behavior does matter.
They also are watched all day by this Mom and Dad. We love to catch them making good choices and exhibiting self control and behaving in a way that’s decent and kind. When we do we quickly reward them with extra tokens.
You may have noticed the small jar with popsicle sticks up there. That’s our chore chart, so to speak. Every day each child pulls one green stick, that stick contains their job for the day. I have three kids who are young, so we’re easing into the daily chore thing. The sticks are for dishwasher unloading, kitchen sweeping and table clearing. Each stick chore done right earns a token, each stick chore that has to be done by mom or dad requires the offender to pay out a token. That’s painful, but effective. We’ve also got similar sticks for weekly chores. It’s such a great way to teach them to get housework done, and to instill responsibility. We do the same for clean rooms too-rooms need to be tidy at the end of the day, whether Mom or Dad do that or not doesn’t matter. But if Mom or Dad have to do that then each kid looses a token. This one really works.
Now all this good behavior is great, but a little reward and some incentives go a long way. We keep this simple, the kids can use their tokens to buy things or rewards. Ten tokens can be turned into one candy treat when we’re grocery shopping, twenty tokens can be turned into a later bedtime or one dollar, forty tokens can be turned into three dollars or a special outing with Mom or Dad. As of now, the girls are totally going for candy, and Levi is totally going for the cash. They love having some options and choices. They did just recently pool their money to buy a goldfish, who now spends one week in the girls’ room and one in Levi’s, joint custody and all.
We’ve been using this system for a few months now, and I gotta say it’s working really well. They’re realizing the consequences of their behavior and understanding how their choices affect things. And, even better, the whining about chores and cleaning has dramatically decreased.
Bottom line: we’re all very happy. It’s working for us, and we like it that way.
What kind of behavior tricks have you used for your kids?