Monday, March 20, 2017

The Penny Jar

A few weeks ago, Adam and I were talking about some parenting issues we've been having. Especially when it came to motivating the girls to follow through on normal family rules and expectations like putting away their own dirty clothes, putting on/putting away shoes and coats when coming or going, throwing away their own trash, obeying with a happy heart the first time, treating each other with kindness: the normal stuff.

Adam decided it was time to try out a system of rewards and left it to me to figure out exactly what that would look like.

After some thought, I put together what we call our penny jars....

This was a completely free project using only what we already had.

The materials:
A few jars, a handful of pennies, and some labels made out of masking tape + marker and you're in business.
The system:
Each girl has her own jar. As we go though our day and they do good works with a happy heart (obey, follow family rules and routines, do simple chores, are especially kind and considerate....) they get a penny or more in their jar. It also works the other way for times when they are less than kind, consistently disobey, whine and complain..... and they can loose pennies.

I have a written list of ways they can earn and also loose pennies and how much.
A small sample:
+1 put shoes/coat away right when we get home
+2 no time out all day
+1 put dirty clothes in basket
+3 try to make bed (at 3 and 2 yrs old, its not realistic yet to expect them to do it "right" every day)
+1 obey teacher/authority

-2 multiple timeouts
-2 hitting/hurting another person or animal
-1 fight bedtime
-3 lying/deceit

Every 3 or 4 days, they get to cash in their earned pennies for special projects, activities, or even small Dollar Tree prizes.
I have a separate list for these cash in options and each item has its own cost.
Small Sample:
3¢ extra story time
5¢ playdough time
10¢ treat for snack
15¢ pick from prize basket
20¢ trip to the library
30¢ out for ice cream or a smoothie

Their favorite option is picking out a prize from our prize basket :)

We are only a few weeks into using this system.
I've already fixed a few bugs and might still have to change it up to make it work for us.
So far though it's pretty motivational for them and an effective option for me to keep them inline with the family.

I also like that this reward system can grow with them.
We'll be able to use it to teach them how to save up pennies and delay gratification.
It can be used to teach them how to tithe and that they can use their earnings for helping others.
It can be used to teach them that things cost something and don't just magically appear. :)

Their hard work will amount to something and I like reinforcing that instead of only having threats and negative options to depend on.

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