I don’t know if you’ve realized, but I read – A LOT. So most of my posts begin with, “I was reading a book…” or “I learned from this book…” Well, I read this book a while ago, I forget which one it was, but the author said something that has shaped the way my husband and I ‘do’ allowance at our house.
The author said that he pays his children to read books – he doesn’t pay them to take out the garbage or rake the leaves because he doesn’t expect them to be sanitation workers or landscapers. Not that either of those professions are degrading or less important that any other…They are hard-working individuals and necessary to society – I thank them for their talents and commitment to excellence in what they do.
But…the train of thought is this – if you want your child to be an engineer, you send him/her to a math and technology school or get them a tutor. If you want your child to be an artist, you foster his/her interest in art and supply them with ample opportunities to practice and create.
We reward behaviors that we want out children to establish habits in.
We reward the habits that promote success and achievement.
We reward the activities that teach our children valuable lessons.
We do not pay our kids to clear the table and do the dishes. They live in our home, they must take part in the daily maintenance of it.
We don’t pay our kids to keep their rooms clean. I’ll admit, it’s often a struggle to get them to clean and I often wish I could come up with bribes to get them to do it…but in the end I make sure that they understand that our home is a blessing and that we need to be good stewards of our blessing and thank God and praise Him for his generosity.
So what kinds of rewards are good for kids? Ultimately – and most importantly – intrinsic rewards are the best. Make the experience or accomplishment feel so good that you or your child wants to repeat it. Of course, intrinsic rewards are not one-size-fits-all. These rewards are very individualistic.
According to OurCommunityYourKids.org :
The most effective rewards are intrinsic…or, if extrinsic (tangible, materialistic) the rewards should be related to the behavior, fit naturally into the context and mission of a classroom (or family), are given promptly after the positive behavior occurs and are awarded consistently.
When my oldest son does well in class he is allowed to go and read a story to his 1st grade teacher’s class. He loves reading and loves mentoring young kids (even though he’s in 2nd grade.) That is an intrinsic reward for him.
But, there are other ways to reward your kids…
- Rent a movie.
- Be a special helper.
- Have a play date.
- Choose the game for game night.
- Receive a certificate or sticker.
- Computer time.
- Story time.
- Date with mom or dad.
- Trip to the mall.
- Tickets to an event.
- Rent a new video game.
Ideas from ActionforHealthyKids.org
My husband and I discussed all of this again yesterday, on our walk. We have decided to use an app from the Google Play Store to track the chores that our kids do. Things that we will track include: read (non-fiction) books, help neighbors, get good grades, improve bad grades, write in their journal, complete Boy Scout projects, etc. Each task will be assigned a dollar value. We’ll show the boys their balance at the end of each week and pay them on Sundays. That way, they can give their offering and if they choose to spend some money, we can make a nice afternoon of it after church.
Rewards are a great way to reinforce organization and establish healthy habits…which is why I’m including this post in my Back to School Organization: Mid-Term Reboot series.
If your previous solution to Back to School organization didn’t work, talk to your kids and find out what they liked and didn’t like. Pay close attention to their responses and then reflect back on the last few weeks of after school routines. Hind sight is 20/20…so take a moment to look back – you’ll find your solutions and be able to get them quickly implemented and solidified with intrinsic and extrinsic rewards specific to each kid – or yourself!