It’s no fun to work without rewards. What’s the fun in working if you don’t feel like you’re getting anything out of it, right? Most of us adults who work ultimately do it to get paid even when it is a job we love. Most of the time, kids think similarly. If I do this, then what’s in it for me? In school, kids always ask, “Why do we have to do this?” I bet you get the same questions at home. Our adult explanations are too long, and kids aren’t always in a place to understand that it’ll do them good in the long run. But, they seem to understand and want to listen when there’s a reward involved.
Rewarding Your Children With A Home Reward System
Rewards have to work for you too!
Let me just say this. Reward systems have to work for you just as much as they work for the kids. I have set up so many different reward systems in the classroom and at home. None of them seem to stick because I never follow through. I set up this whole system, and it fails because I can’t keep up with it. It is too much work. So, I have found the simpler it is, the better. The super cutesy stuff is not ideal for me because while it is cute, I can’t keep it going. I forget about it. The kids realize it, and so they don’t work for it. My children often tell me how I owe them this or that. I could very well owe them something, but I don’t know because I’ve lost track. I feel bad, and then it is back to the drawing board.
Something That Works!
A few years ago, I found something that worked well for me in the classroom. There was little set-up and I could start right away. All I had to do was reward good behavior, like students following the rules, making good choices, or working hard. What did I give them in return? Classroom money. A super simple age-old classroom idea, but it is something they work for and want. It’s not complicated or confusing to me or the students. Each week, we open a store where students can buy items, mostly school-related. I collect the money and keep using it to hand out throughout the week.
You Can Do This At Home
As my family got ready to start on our homeschooling journey, I thought about the need to have some kind of reward system in place for my kids. It can be tough being together for extended periods of time. Sibling fights are a little more frequent, and listening to mom and dad all the time can start to get old.
Having a reward system is not only another way to let the kids know when they’re doing a good job and that I appreciate their hard work, but it also can help manage those unwanted behaviors. Of course, I could just tell them which I do, but a little extrinsic motivation is always nice. I never miss the chance to explain how they should feel good inside about their accomplishments, like being kind, helpful, or completing work, but we all work a little bit harder when there is a carrot dangling in front of us.
Out with the Old, In with the New
I kept walking by our current reward system and saw that even though it was in plain sight, it was not being used or working. I’ve gone through cotton ball systems, sticker charts, moving magnets, and more. You name it! I have probably tried it, and if I didn’t, then it must’ve been something way too hard. Since many of us are homeschooling, you too may be looking for something that can motivate and reward your children at home. Read more to find out what I decided to do.
Download The Homebucks Reward System
The Homebucks Reward System
I came up with Homebucks. Homebucks money can only be used for rewards at home. Each child gets an envelope to keep their money in and can earn $5 Homebucks at any time throughout the day. All you have to do is print them out, cut them up, and pass them out as you notice behavior that deserves it.
Homebucks can also be taken away. I don’t like doing this, but sometimes I want to make a stronger impression of what is acceptable and what isn’t. There is the philosophy of if they earned it, it shouldn’t be taken away. I try to keep that in mind, but there are times when I think it’s called for. You’ve gotta do what works for you and your family. The good thing is, is that they can always earn it back if that’s how you run your reward system.
You’re the parent, so you get to decide when you want to give out your Homebucks. What makes this system so easy for me is that I can hand them out any time of day. You can give one at a time, or more than one depending on what you’re observing, or what you feel deserves rewarding. If you’re homeschooling, these are some school type behaviors I like to reward:
- Hard work
- Completing work
- Perseverance with work
- Getting started without being told
- Trying their best
- Staying focused
Some home behaviors I like to reward are:
- Helping with chores or completing chores without being asked
- Being helpful to others
- Having a positive attitude
- Being kind
There are many other reasons you may want to reward your children at home, but these are a few that will get your mind thinking about how you want to use this system in your home.
What Do We Get?
What do we get? Well, my sassy mom answer is “a good feeling in your heart,” but we already talked about how kids usually need and like something a little more motivating than that. I get that question a lot in the classroom, and I often do say that as my answer. I believe it is important that kids know that you don’t always get a prize every time you do what you’re asked. However, I came up with some things children might enjoy using their money for at home.
I choose to open up a store for my kids to buy something with their Homebucks. This way they remain excited and motivated each week. The prizes they can buy at home are a little different from what I might give away in my classroom, but some are the same. I’ve made each Homebucks worth $5. When I decided on prices for the store items, I always like to make a few low priced items, so the kids have a chance to earn and choose a prize pretty quickly.
While constant instant gratification is not always a good thing, making a few prizes or rewards easily attainable is. It helps with the buy-in and the want to participate in the system. It makes it important, and kids are willing to try a little harder.
Rewards and Prizes
Whether you call it a reward or a prize, I’ve come up with several items with various costs. Kids can choose to save up for certain items worth more or spend their bucks quickly. Many of the rewards I came up with are things that my girls often ask for, or it is something they often fight about. For example, there are many heated arguments about who should be in control of the tv remote. There are some blank spaces for new ideas or anything you would like to add that your kids would want to buy with their Homebucks.
One thing that I like to try to stay away from are items that have a real monetary value. I’ve included some, but they are worth more. The last thing that I want is for us to feel like we have to buy something every time our children show good behavior. Then it starts to feel a little like bribery to me. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide what kinds of prizes for rewards you want to offer. You may also have a whole different way of using this system, and that is just fine too.
What You’ll Need
- An Envelope or a place to keep Homebucks
- Cardstock paper (optional)
When I set up our reward system, I like to print off a few sheets of the money on cardstock. The kids cut them out, and I keep them in an easily accessible place. One that I’ll remember when keeping it away from little hands. The kids can keep their earned Homebucks in any kind of envelope. We use the library-style book envelopes, and stick them on a wall near our family calendars, chore charts, and other family information.
A Few More Ideas
If you’re like me, you don’t want to print a ton of paper because printer ink is expensive and runs out so fast. If I don’t want to print new reward cards every time the kids choose their rewards, I instead print them on cardstock paper and punch a hole in each card to put on a ring. That way, the kids can flip through the cards to see what they want to choose. If you don’t plan to fulfill their order right away, you can have a special place to write it down, or you can buy one of those big rolls of tickets like you would get at a fair or carnival. Write it down on the back, and give them the ticket to use it when they’re ready. They can put the ticket back in their envelope for safekeeping.
My goal is to make things simple and to give children something they can work for or earn as well as help parents in managing behaviors and schoolwork at home.
Include your details to download my easy at home reward system. So far my kids are enjoying this uncomplicated way of getting rewarded at home. I hope your kids will too. Let me know what they think, or if you have any other cool rewards you’re planning to add to your Homebucks store. Happy rewarding! And if you haven’t read my blog post about homeschooling, you can read it here.