Starting A Rewards System

If your household is anything like mine, it is a miracle when my kids do anything without me having to nag them or force them. I finally decided that I couldn’t live my life like this because I was always frustrated, and my kids would sense that. I needed to figure out a way for all of us to get our sanity back so I decided it was time I started a rewards system.


My son has always been one that is incentive driven. It was almost impossible to have him do anything unless there was something in it for him or unless it was fun to do. When he was younger, I resorted to bribing or punishing, but that wasn’t sustainable long term. Now that he is 5 years old, I felt like he could understand actions and consequences very well and have the patience to wait for a reward.

I was looking for something I could do that would motivate my son to put his dishes in the sink/brush his teeth at night/put all his toys away that didn’t involve punishment, threats, or bribery.

Enter, the rewards chart.

I like that it is a system based on positivity rather than punishments.

This would allow him to learn how to earn something, which is an excellent teaching tool for adulthood.

Do not punish

I’m not sure if all kids do this, but my son just shuts down when he thinks he’s in trouble. I mean, I get it. When I think I’ve done something wrong at work, I start to freak out too. But, if you punish them for not following the chart, it makes what’s supposed to be fun and positive into something they hate and dread.

Give them something visual to track their progress

Kids understand something better when they can physically see it. Not to mention, just seeing themselves progressing more and more towards their goal is motivation in itself. Looking through Pinterest for some ideas (my new Google!), I decided to purchase one that could be customizable but also fluid. I wanted something that I could change every week, because life is unpredictable. This one by Kinderberry fit the bill.

Get them excited and keep them motivated

Let them be part of the process of starting a chore/rewards chart. My son was so excited to get it set up. He was even more excited to start working towards his goal (yes!!). Now he looks forward to completing a task, so he can put his star on the chart, which is making my life so much easier!

We just started this so he hasn’t quite reached his goal yet, but the process has been fun for him so far. I just hope it continues to work. (And, I hope the rewards don’t start getting more extravagant!)

What have you tried in order to get your kids to listen to you? What kind of incentives do you give?



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