I am the first to agree when someone says my children are adorable and well-behaved… BUT… those sweet little children of mine can also wreak havoc like … well, like I am quite certain my sister nor I ever did. Enter the Reward Chart. I have learned enough in my nearly 8 years of being a parent to know that constantly shouting “NO!” to my 4 children has the opposite of the intended effect. My children (and I will be so bold as to say, most children) respond better when they are praised for good behavior (“Great job not hitting your sister while you watched her dip your toothbrush in the toilet honey!”).
I have seen quite a few printable reward charts or chore charts online, but none of them felt like the right fit for our family. So a friend and I took our favorite parts of the charts we’d seen and smushed them altogether. If you don’t like the colors, or if you have some other crafting supplies at home that you could make work for this project, then by all means, make it work for you.
Dry Erase Board (Mine measures 14” x 14”)
Scrapbook paper, squares and strips
Clothespins (# of chores x # of children)
Craft Paint (1 color per child)
Laminator or Laminating sheets
How to Assemble the Reward Chart
1. Choose the jobs or behaviors for your children (in my case they each have the same list). For example, I chose:
- Love my siblings
- Listen to Mom
- Keep my room clean
- Pick up my toys
- Put my laundry away
- Read in my room
I left some of these vague for a reason – my children are all under the age of 8 but they are smart enough to try and negotiate and barter their way in or out of things. This list works for our family, but if you need help deciding what to put on your list, then check out this post at Blissfully Domestic on age-appropriate chores.
2. Make a hanging tag for each child. Use a different color of scrapbook paper for each child. I used the alphabet stickers to put their first initial on each tag. Then, write out the jobs or behaviors on the tag – be sure to leave enough space between each one since this is where you will clip their clothespin if they’ve earned it.
3. Choose the rewards for your children. These are under magnets on the dry erase board so I could change them at will. We make a big deal every night of counting how many clothespins everyone has earned – the rewards are at my discretion based on how everyone has been behaving all week. I chose the following for rewards:
Alone time with Mom
Trip to the Dollar Store
Playing time on their Leapster
Playing time on Mom’s iPad
4. Paint the clothespins. Depending on how many jobs/behaviors you have on your list, paint that many clothes pins for each child – I matched the paint color to the color of scrapbook paper used for each tag. *Tip: clip the pins on a glass to be able to paint all sides at once and they won’t stick to anything while drying.
5. Laminate the individual tags while the clothespins are drying (you can skip this step, but I think it makes the tags sturdier).
6. Hang the tags. Punch a hole in the top and tie a ribbon through it. Flip the dry erase board over and staple the top of the ribbon to the board – do this carefully so each tag hangs at the same length – because obviously it looks better that way).
7. Chart the week. I chose to just draw a 1-week grid on the dry erase board to track points, but you could do a month at a time if needed.
8. Hang it up and very clearly explain how it works to the children!