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Paula Battle, an all-time favourite and star in the world of mummy-blogging, introduces us to children's rewards systems through the Pocket Money Jar…
As a parent one of the most vital resources to have at your disposal is the ability to teach your child cause and effect. To find a successful way to reward good behaviour and dissuade from any repetition of bad equates to the quest for the Holy Grail. So far, so every day dilemma…
I recently put out a plaintiff call to the world of twitter for reward systems that work, as opposed to those that seem to cause more grief than effect good behaviour. The best suggestion by far came from a friend with many years of experience in handling her own growing family.
The Pocket Money Jar is a beautifully simple idea and, unlike its predecessors the pasta jar and the button jar, it actually works and has the added benefit of extending a positive lesson about the value of money in the wider world. We do this by taking regular weekend trips to the sweet shop which might mean a lifetime of dental bills but for now serves the purpose of clearly demonstrating to our children the effect of being well behaved and helpful around the house.
So, how does it work? In our household, each child has a pot labelled with their name and it is kept in a prominent place. Next to these sits a master pot, filled with coins of different value - essentially we empty our pockets into it on a regular basis. The children earn their pocket money through doing regular tasks, for example the 8yo's job is to empty the dishwasher every morning. If he remembers to do it without being asked he earns 10p, but if he has to be reminded then the amount drops to 5p - yes I know it's harsh but we're in the midst of a global recession you know!
The system is so simple that it's easy enough for even our youngest child to understand. Aged four, she knows that sweeties cost pennies and that she now has the power to earn those pennies through doing very simple tasks. It's also an extremely effective deterrent - once you get into the habit of facilitating the spending of the saved pennies, most children will be very easily persuaded out of challenging behaviour by the idea that they might lose some of their precious bounty.
As with any reward system the knack is in sticking with it for the long term. As the queen of the half-finished sticker chart I can happily say that this one appears to be a keeper - so far anyway.
Monday, 17th January 2011