Family Matters
Dear Community,

Our tech team has launched updates to The Nest today. As a result of these updates, members of the Nest Community will need to change their password in order to continue participating in the community. In addition, The Nest community member's avatars will be replaced with generic default avatars. If you wish to revert to your original avatar, you will need to re-upload it via The Nest.

If you have questions about this, please email [email protected]

Thank you.

Note: This only affects The Nest's community members and will not affect members on The Bump or The Knot.

Reward system for children

Hi all! I haven't been on here in AGES! So happy I found my login and password. :)


I was hoping I'd be able to get some ideas for a reward system for my kids. I was basically thinking certain behaviors/chores would get them $1 in play money (for example doing their homework without being asked, clearing the table, etc.) and certain privileges (video game time, tv time, etc.) would cost them $$$. I figured not only would they learn that certain activities have to be earned, but also maybe teach them about saving and spending. My boys are 5 (6 in 1 two weeks) and 7.

(edit: I don't mean chores necessarily, but can't think of a better word.) 

Any input would help! Thank you!


Re: Reward system for children

  • I do not have children, but I do not think this is a good idea. There can always be exception to the rules when you have a reward system like this.

    When 1 child is playing a video game and the other child can't join him, your son  that "paid" for it could get upset because his brother can't join him. or the other way around, the child who can't play may get very upset and not care about the "money" at that point.

    Would everything be worth the same amount? you may find that your children always play with a certain thing because they want something now and that is all they can do with the "money" they have. 

    I also personally think that kids should have chores that they do not get "rewarded" for doing them. This helps children learn how to do things for themselves when they get older.

    I grew up in a family of 4 kids and we always had certain chores we had to do. We did not get rewarded for doing our chores. (unless you consider allowing us to play with the neighborhood kids a reward) We simply were not allowed to do anything until our chores were done.

     Again I am not a mother so my input may not be helpful. 

    The most beautiful things in the world are not seen nor touched. They are felt with the heart. -- Helen Keller Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I agree with awick14, chores should be mandatory and not be paid for. If you want to give them extras to earn spending money that is fine, but cleaning their room, picking up after themselves, laundry and sharing kitchen duties should not be paid for. That is part of growing up in a home and sharing duties.


    Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
    "Don't marry a man unless you would be PROUD to have a son exactly like him." ~ Unknown
  • I appreciate your input. I also agree with the "chores". I simply didn't know a better word. I am of the same mind that chores are part of your responsibilities. Thanks again!
  • My child isn't old enough for chores, but the plan is to have set chores they do on a regular basis and a few "extra" chores they can do to earn something special.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with play money = buying privileges, but I would be very careful rewarding children for doing things they are suppose to do, like homework and setting the table. It can set a child up for thinking there should be a reward for everything.

    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • I think that the logic behind wanting to teach both things... money management and that you have to work for a reward... is good... but I also am a little old school and believe that children can and should be expected to respect their parents without reward. There was an interesting article published in a child psychology journal recently about this.  Children whom learned to function strictly on a token-reward system did not do as well after leaving home for college/workforce as children who simply had put in the hard work to accept that certain things (homework, laundry, being polite, etc) were simply a necessary part of life.

    Using the reward system also takes the onus off the child to be autonomous and decide for themself to behave well/a certain well, and puts that responsibility on the parent for judging good vs bad all the time. 

    The way I might phrase it would be that as they get older, they have both more priviliges as well as more responsibilities.  If they are not responsible, they cannot expect the same priviliges that they would if they were more responsible.  Personally, I prefer a dialog with them about this rather than a token/cash system.

    I view a token/cash system more as a seperate tool... as a child we had a "play town" in the basement that we built (by we I mean the kids) and used play cash to purchase things that we each made in our shops (I made bracelets, my brother made pirate hats, and play swords, etc....)

  • I think complex systems, especially ones where you have to be the gatekeeper of rewards and costs, get abandonded by parents rather quickly.

    I think you really only need to set-up some clear expectations of behavior. Back it up with a simple visual chart of praise when things are well done - checks, stars, points, stickers. At most, let the cumulative marks add-up to a priviledge.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • We *reward* our kids. They are much younger though(almost 3and 4). But they get a sticker in the morning if they stay all night in their bed, desert if they eat their dinner, etc. We have a star chart thats rarely used, but if they do chores (clean up their toys, help set the table yada yada) they get a star and stars add up to $ and a toy. Its a great way to teach them how to work and save up for something, its much more effective on the 4 year old obviously. When they get older it will probably be more of the same thing, except they get allowance for doing their chores. 
  • I feel that the idea of having to pay for enjoyment is probably more detrimental than having to be rewarded for chores.
  • Hmmm... I think you all make a good point. Truth is we were trying to go off an idea similar to what teachers use to reward in the classroom. Of couse, they have 30 kids to deal with, not 2.


    What we currently do is set reward on a long term scale. For example, in Florida students are put through these crazy yearly tests that the teachers I've spoken to agree are mostly impossible for kids (my 5 year old is expected to know algebra...). So we help them study and with homework, etc. We've told them if these exams go well we'll go on vacation to celebrate. For the day to day, we use praise, positive reinforcement, when they do their chores without us having to ask. 

  • dont pay them for things they should learn how to do anyhow.  that teaches nothing but a false sense of entitlement. they SHOULD act appropriately and do chores to begin with. they should be punished if they dont-not reward them for what they're supposed to do in the first place!!!

    i do however think teaching them about saving/spending is a very good idea and should be stressed as important. why not start them of with $10 a week in play money and work down from there. they want TV? $1 per hour. They want a cup of soda (bad for them but a treat) $2. They want something special at the store? $3. they will learn quickly about having enough and conrolling what they do.

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • I don't know any children who would "get" cleaning without verbal prompts at 7; your expectations are a little unrealistic.

    I also don't like the idea of rewards for chores that should be done just because you are part of the family. It's like you're telling them it a choice when it shouldn't be, IMHO.

    And play money, seriously? Most kids know the difference and can't be bought with funny money.

    You might want to mosey over to parenting and school-aged kids where people have kids and really, really care about this stuff. This board is for dissing MILs.



  • I personally don't believe in "paying" children to do their chores.  Those are things that are expected of them.

    So I have two systems in place.  One is for both my kids.  They each have a marble jar, and doing something "above and beyond" earns them a marble.  So if they get ready in the morning without complaint, do homework without being prodded, be extra nice/helpful to someone, I'll casually tell them to put a marble in their jar and they get really excited about that.  When the jar is full they get to choose a prize of some sort...a special lunch, a small toy/gift/book, etc.

    My older DD also gets a weekly allowance.  Earning the full amount is not tied to any performance.  HOWEVER...if she doesn't do certain household jobs, and I end up having to do them for her, she has to pay me for my time.  Not making her bed costs 50 cents, leaving a light on is 25 cents, and so on.  She definitely learns the value of money that way!  And she has to use her allowance to pay for certain things she wants that DH and I used to cover, like buying lunch at school, extra books she'd like to own instead of borrow from the library, special gifts for friends (we cover all birthday gifts, but if she chooses to exchange holiday gifts with her BFF, for example, that's on her for the most part...I do help by comparison shopping, getting her coupons). 

  • Reward your children with your approval and praise. Not with money. They should come to understand that they have to participate in the upkeep of the house generally, and their own possessions particularly, without expecting payment of any kind. An allowance of money should be age appropriate, and not tied to chores; this is how kids learn to handle money, save etc.
  • I grew up with chores = allowance and I'm not all that messed up. I've got a high credit score and no debt. 


    I think a lot of this stuff is overanalyzed, honestly. 

  • So you're basing your vacation on this? Really? A test over which neither you nor your children have any real control? Will you get results in a timely manner? I mean, most primary grade students live pretty much in the present. In most states, the reporting time for these tests is around 4-6 months. I'm in PA, our tests were about 10 days ago. The reports will be mailed to parents in late-August/early-September, too late to be used for program planning much less vacation.

    What is one of your children isn't especially bright? Or doesn't test well? Does he stay home while the rest of you go? Or do you all just skip vacation?

  • I don't find anything wrong with rewarding your children for doing things on their own without being asked.

    I didn't get an allowance, but if I wanted something extra or wanted money to go somewhere with friends, I would have to wash the cars, mow the lawn, things my parents normally did. If I did more than what I was supposed to do for my chores (washed and put away all dishes instead of only washing or only putting away/ did my sisters chores as well), my mom would do half of my chores the next day.

    I don't know, I guess I just don't see a big deal with it. What's the difference between praising and rewarding them? Does that mean when they grow up they're going to think they deserve a pat on the back every time they did something good, when it's something they should be doing anyway?

  • I'm a bit late to this thread, but I thought I'd share the system my parents used for me and my brother when I was little. My brother and I would each get an allowance every week that was I think $2.50. However, we had a checklist posted on our bedroom doors with a list of chores for the day - e.g. brush your teeth (twice), make your bed, clean your room, etc (I forget what else was on there). There were also bonus chores - my brother took out the trash 2x week, and I unloaded the dishwasher every morning. For each chore we missed, we were penalized 10 cents, and the bonus chores counted 10 cents extra. Thus my maximum possible allowance was $3.20, if I did every chore. However, it was also possible to go negative, if say your room was constantly messy - I remember a number of times when my brother had a negative allowance. I rather like the system, but it's also interesting because my brother and I turned out very differently (I've been a "saver" since I was little, he's never been one). When we were old enough to do extra chores like mowing the lawn, we got paid for that, since it wasn't a rotation, but cleaning the bathrooms was required duty every four weeks.

    I would not pay a child to do their homework and they would get in trouble (no electronics) if it wasn't done on time. Work before play.

  • I'm a first grade teacher and I use reward systems for things that kids are having issues with in the classroom. I don't have any kids of my own, but I have recommended that parents do a reward system for things that they notice their kids are having a problem with.  For example, I've had parents do them for finishing homework without complaint, extra responsibilities, reading more, etc.  I understand the PPs concern about rewarding them for what they should be doing anyway. I'm a firm believe in kids doing what they should do without reward. Unfortunately, some kids need a little extra help with it because they don't have that inherent love of doing what they should.  I use a money system in my classroom and it works well.  I think it teaches the kids to save their money when they want something bigger (more expensive) from our class store.  Good luck!
  • Not sure if this helps, but I am a 2nd grade teacher and use this for my kids in school:

    You determine the reward. If they do all of their chores for the week, you can create a few rewards with them like watching a moving, going on a special day out with you, etc. Or instead of chores, you can fill it with behaviors, depending upon your need.

    ~CaraMia~ Married to my HS sweetheart since 7/2/10 Celebrating 10 years together 6/3/12! Anniversary
  • image CSAS98:

    Hmmm... I think you all make a good point. Truth is we were trying to go off an idea similar to what teachers use to reward in the classroom. Of couse, they have 30 kids to deal with, not 2.


    What we currently do is set reward on a long term scale. For example, in Florida students are put through these crazy yearly tests that the teachers I've spoken to agree are mostly impossible for kids (my 5 year old is expected to know algebra...). So we help them study and with homework, etc. We've told them if these exams go well we'll go on vacation to celebrate. For the day to day, we use praise, positive reinforcement, when they do their chores without us having to ask. 

    But if your child doesn't do well would you really cancel your vacation? Sometimes kids don't do well on tests even if they know the material. That sounds like a lot of pressure to me. 

Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards