Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tickets Please: Rewarding Your Kids

Tickets are our family's currency. We use them to pay our kids for doing the extra jobs that go beyond their normal chores and we use them to reinforce good behavior. Our kids get to use their tickets to earn prizes and pay for their screen time. Teachers would call it classroom management so I guess it would be fair to call the system household management....whatever you call it, it works. Here's how you can set it up at your house...

1. Buy carnival tickets. They come in an assortment of colors so you can buy one roll per child or use one color for your family and write your kid's name on each ticket. Our tickets live on our refrigerator but a paper towel holder works too.

2. Explain the system to your kids. Use clear and simple language. If your kids are young, make it tangible by having some toys that they can earn priced and out on display. You could even consider taking your kids shopping so that they can help pick out their prizes. I never force my kids to earn tickets. The prizes should be motivation enough. Here's the great get to decide what the prizes are. Right now, my son is working towards earning 100 tickets so that he can buy a new fishing pole and tackle box. We've also sold trips to Chuck E Cheese, family trips to the movie theatre, and screen time(screen time is any time that your kids spend in front of a t.v., computer, DVD, or video game...yes, my kids PAY for it!).

3. Make your expectations clear. You can list extra jobs out on a poster board with the tickets stapled next to the job. I'm not organized enough to post jobs. I simply state that there is a "ticket" job and ask if there are any volunteers. I also tell my kids when a job is not done to our standards and let them know what needs to be done to earn the ticket.

4. Use tickets as positive reinforcement. I like to splurge on my kids and say things like, "Wow! You behaved so well at the dentist that I'm going to give you a ticket!". I don't always pay for good behavior but sometimes I reward it. See the difference? I also don't take tickets away. Now, you could argue with me on this one. At our house we have negative consequences set in place so tickets are strictly for earning not losing.

5. Get creative and customize the idea. Give tickets as birthday and Christmas presents and hide them in the Easter eggs. Our kids go nuts over ticket presents and guess what...they're pretty much free. Tell the kids that they can earn tickets for going to bed for the babysitter. Give out tickets when you feel especially proud of an accomplishment. You are the keeper of the tickets...go crazy!

Do you need a reward? A new ($40 CSN) giveaway starts tomorrow!


NorCalMom said...

I used the ticket system when my kids were in elementary school. It worked very well. The kids looked forward to earning tickets and soon learned to hold on to them for a larger "prize".
The keeper of the tickets definitely has the power!

Young Family said...

I'm posting a comment.... :) I love these things, and we do something similar. However, and I know that you don't like to take them away, but we use colored sticks (think popsicles sticks from Hobby Lobby) and if Kid 1 is mean to Kid 2, she has to pay her a stick. Because each girl also has set colors, I can keep fairly good "visual" track of who wasn't getting along very well in a week. The sticks can be traded in for movie time, later bedtime, etc, but can also be turned in for "allowance".

Aspiring Mom2three said...

Great idea and way to teach kids to earn and save! When ours were in elementary, we used something similar and had them keep track of their "money" in an old checkbook. This way they worked on adding subtracting and keeping track, just like you would in a real checkbook.

melody rose said...

Jen, I am totally going to implement this idea at our house. We've been dealing with a grumpy boy lately, and I know that he will eat up this positive reinforcement. Thanks for helping me in my mom-job!