I need your advice.
I’m helping the online pocket money website Roosterbank create a reward chart. They want to come up with something that will be both useful for parents and fun for kids, and FREE for everyone, regardless of whether or not they use the Roosterbank site. (They’re nice like that). I have to confess though that I don’t have a great track record when it comes to reward charts.
I’ve tried reward charts a few times with Belle, but just haven’t been able to get it right.
Our last attempt a few months ago included around eight simple tasks to do every day, really easy things like ‘clean teeth’ and ‘go to bed without having a breakdown’, yet it was abandoned, (like the toothbrush), after only 10 days.
The difficulty was deciding how exactly the thing should work. Should she have to get every single item ticked every day to claim her pocket money at the end of the week, or was there scope for error? We tried the first approach initially, but it did not go well. One bedtime tantrum on the first night, and that was it for the week – where was her incentive then to eat all her lunch on the other six days?
In the second week we discovered just how short-termist (and cunning) Belle can be.
“OK,” we’d say, “time to clean your teeth!”
“I don’t want to,” she would say.
“But if you don’t clean them, you can’t get the tick on your chart.”
“That’s alright,” she’d say, “I don’t want the money. I’m seeing Gran at the weekend and she’ll buy me my Jacqueline Wilson magazine.”
What can you say to that? The reward chart had been about handing over responsibility and control, and she’d grasped it firmly. With both hands. As far as reward systems go, it was a failure.
So you can see why I need your help.
If you were designing a flexible reward chart to be used by hundreds of parents, whether or not they give regular pocket money, what would it look like? What tasks would you include? What scope would there be for failure? Would it be completely positive, with ticks for good behaviour, or would there be negative marks for doing something naughty?
Have you tried reward charts with your children before? What has worked well? What’s gone not so well? Are your kids rewarded with money or specific treats?
I would love to get lots of ideas for Roosterbank, (and come up with a system that means Belle cleans her teeth every day), so please, please, please leave a comment with your thoughts!
Once it’s finished, you’ll be able to claim your very own FREE copy of the chart from Roosterbank to use at home, even if you’re not signed up to the site. Find out how here.
Finally, if you’re feeling extra helpful, I even have big ticks and stickers for people who share this post for me.
Here you go:
P.S. If you’re a blogger and Roosterbank use one of your ideas, your blog details can be included on the chart, meaning your blog could be stuck on the fridges of hundreds of parents throughout the country!