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Promoting Good Behavior - Reward Store

Don't call me mother of the year.  I think like most mothers out there, I am always feeling like I could be doing a better job at one thing or another.  Recently, I had both my Chinese driver and my Chinese housekeeper tell me that they thought my children were so well behaved, and always listen to me.  THIS, coming from people that spend a LOT of time with me and the kids.  I about FELL OFF MY CHAIR.  I for one, feel like my children NEVER listen to me.  Please tell me I'm not alone here.... PLEASE!!

Ok... so another attempt on my part to bring some "lets work together" harmony into our home.  A while back I had seen THIS idea which I shared on a collection of Parenting Tips, Tricks & Inspirations.  I think this will be the perfect motivator for my kids, the perfect thing for me to implement, and a great way offer positive reinforcement in place of the nagging I've resorted to.  I have made some changes to make it more appropriate for our home.  And of course... after using it for a few weeks, I've learned a thing or two.  I'll share...

Our living room now proudly displays the Reward Store.

Rather than offering an allowance, or using a chore chart, my children earn Mommy Money that they can use to buy things from the Reward Store.

We went shopping together!  I told the children that we were buying things that they wanted to go into our store.  We had a nice variety of items, some inexpensive, and some more.  Some toys, games, treats, books, and so on.  The kids were great about helping select the items.  And no... I didn't buy EVERYTHING they brought to the cart.  ;)

I had the children put prices on each item.  I tried to keep it in "real" terms.  If it was a $5 book, then they put a $5 sticker on that item.  If it was a $20 basketball, it got a $20 sticker.  However, I thought it was likely smarter to put a higher ticket price on the candy we tossed in.  Instead of a $.50 package of M&Ms, we marked them at $3.  

You know your kids better than anyone.  I know, that if I have a Reward Store full of candy, then my kids will be buying nothing but!!!  So after a few weeks of using our store, I'm debating as to whether or not I keep the candy in the store.  If I do keep it, I will be increasing the price, I am sure.

A great thing to add...
Years ago my sister gave me this AWESOME Kids Coupon Book.
It was the PERFECT addition to our Reward Store.  
 I added this book to our store, but added a price tag to the back of each.  That way the kids can choose an item from the coupon book as well.  It is your choice if you allow the children to reuse coupons, which I decided to do.  Of course, who needs a book!  You can create your own coupons for your Reward Store!

Some of my favorite coupons in the book are...
* Stay up one hour past your bedtime
* Your choice of one item at the grocery store
* You don't have to clean your room for a week
* Your own batch of cookies, to share or keep for yourself
* A birthday cake, and it doesn't have to be your birthday

Ready, Set, Display!
Find a place that is up and away, but visible to display your Reward Store.  I found a great plastic tub that I was able to fit most of our stuff in.  My daughter was excited to make a sign for the store, which we hung on front, then we placed our "store" on top of the bookshelf in our living room.

So what about the Mommy Money?
You can download the template that I used to create my Mommy Money HERE (it is a Word 2007 Document).
I found a photo of myself and my husband, and cropped the image to the shape of an oval.  If you see below, I am using Word to do so with a photo of my husband.

1.  Add the photo you would like to use
2.  Right mouse click on the photo and select "Format Picture", click the "Layout" tab, and select "In front of text"
3. Select from the "Format" tab on the Word menu then "Picture Shape" as seen in the image above.
There, you will see the oval shape option (circled in red).  Select that.
4.  Resize your photo to the appropriate size, and place it in the middle of your bill.
5.  Copy and past your cropped photo into each of the other bills.

Earning Mommy Money
At our house, it is WAY harder to earn a Daddy Dollar than it is Mommy Money!  You need to decide what things you want to encourage in your children.  It may be different for each kid in your house too.  For me, having the kids pick up after themselves, get ready for school and bed without my nagging, doing homework without being told, and being kind to each other, are my BIG things.  So these are all things they earn money for.

I reward my children with $1 for each morning we get off to school on time without me having to tell them more than once.. "Finish your breakfast!"... "Get dressed!"... "Put on your coat!"... and so on.  If they are going out of their way to be helpful, they can earn a dollar or two.  If they, on their own accord, are exceptionally kind to another sibling, I may be willing to offer up even more.

The key is, decide what you want to encourage in your children!

It is up to you if you think confiscating Mommy Money is a route you want to go.  I have told my children that being unkind to each other will result in them having to "pay" the other child from their own Mommy Money stash.

Also keep in mind how quickly you'd like your children to be able to redeem prizes from the Reward Store. If you are forking out enough cash for your child to be buying items from the store each day, you may need to rethink your strategy!  Give out less money, or raise the prices in the store!

Adding to the Store
How many times do your kids come up to you at the store BEGGING to have this or that??  I think the Reward Store is a great solution to that.  Now you might be more inclined to buy that item, only to stick a price on it and toss it into the store.  Your kids are still selecting the items.. and are more motivated because these are things that they really want, right?  So keep adding the store.  Make it fun and mix it up!

If you give it a try, I'd LOVE to hear how it goes for you!
What things do you have in your Reward Store?

Happy Kids... Happy Mommy!!!

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