How To Motivate Children

…to be helpful.As some of you may already know, my boyfriend and I have four children between us, and believe me, managing a house full of kids, two of whom are pretty much out of control, is an overwhelming challenge! The house looks like a war zone most of the time, and we are running ourselves ragged trying to do damage control. So, after much distress, and pleading, shouting, and ranting, I devised a plan to motivate these unruly children to appreciate how much work there is and to do their part.Introducing the Score Chart!Children get one stamp for every chore they complete, no matter how big or small. If it is helpful, it counts. Now, with multiple children of different ages, I tell the older kids to offer to let the younger ones do the easier chores first. If the little ones pass up the opportunity, it’s fair game for the older kids!The reward system is so:I have four reward jars. One for ten points, one for twenty points, one for thirty points, and lastly one for fifty. For each jar I make coupons for prizes that are appropriate. For example, for ten points, I have coupons for Movie Night. If someone wins that, they get to choose the movie and get popcorn. We let the kids all watch together, though, as part of our message to include each other. Another prize for ten points is a 5€ coupon for the arts and crafts store.For twenty points, it could be two scoops of ice-cream at the ice cream cafe or homemade dinner of their choice.For thirty points, 🍕 night. The winner gets to have dinner with me or my boyfriend at the pizza restaurant. It includes one small pizza and a small drink.The main prize is won when they accumulate fifty points. We have prizes like a day at the beach, one night camping, 20€ coupon for the arts and crafts store, etc.None of the prizes are straight up money. We try to come up with prize ideas that will not encourage materialism, but will still motivate them to want to help. The goal is to help them appreciate all the hard work we do by including them in the household responsibilities.Now, the way the points system works is this: they can choose to cash in for prizes when they reach ten points, or save up for the bigger prizes for twenty or thirty points. It’s like money. Once they spend it, those points are gone. Except for the big prize. To win the big prize, they only have to reach a grand total of fifty points within the month. It doesn’t matter if they’ve already used their points for the other three prize categories.So, each jar has prize coupons. When they reach their goal, they get to take a coupon from the jar without looking. So, it’s also a game of chance, which is part of the fun. The kids like not knowing what they will get and being surprised when they draw a coupon. Everyone has fun, and as you can see from May’s chart, it works! Before I started this, Frida and Ronja were the only ones who would help out with any of the chores, and those weren’t many. They are only 4 and 5. (Ronja only just turned 6 in May and Frida will be 5 this month.) Flora, who is going on 9, and much more capable of doing her part, is terribly lazy and is impossible to motivate to do anything! Or so I thought! Once the score chart went up and the rules explained, Flora sprang into action! Suddenly, she was taking the initiative to do chores without having to always be told. Frida also got in on the action, and she and Flora both managed to win the grand prize for May!For June, I’ve decided to add myself and my boyfriend to the chart, just to show the kids how much work we do, as a comparison. Whether it will have the desired effect or not is yet to be seen, but at least the kids are starting to do more around the house.

Published by Jessica Urquhart

First off, who am I? My name is Jessica Urquhart. Writing has always been a hobby of mine, which got its start in middle and highschool, when I'd write short stories for the amusement of my friends and classmates. Currently, I'm working on my first book, my one true love of a story I've been saying I would one day write. Well, that day has come. If you'd care to follow my musings on the adventures and hurdles of writing my first fantasy book, then please, read my blog.

3 thoughts on “How To Motivate Children

  1. Quite a well thought out system you have there! Time is never wasted on this sort of careful planning for children. Life has become very comfortable and parents act wisely when they work towards raising a stronger generation. And it’s refreshing to know that children tend to learn from one another, and this is why good friendships, cousins & well developed elder siblings are important. The more people around, the better for children; it removes a great part of the burden from parents when others can teach the same lessons they do. I wonder when I’ll start a family but I’m preparing for it as you see. Meantime, I wish the best to yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I agree about needing more people than just the parents. It truly takes a village. Unfortunately, we are trying to manage without much support, because we just don’t have it. Though hopefully that will change in time.

      Liked by 1 person

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