Our Reward System for This Academic School Year

by GfG on August 12, 2014 · 10 comments

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I used to believe that we shouldn’t reward our children for tasks that they are supposed to do.  That included school work.  Then the LORD showed me that I am rewarded for behaviors that I am supposed to do, so why not the children?  Sure, nearly all of the rewards from the LORD are not tangible items, but we will receive crowns in heaven. That’s pretty fabulous.

I’ve also come to realize that it takes awhile for intrinsic rewards to happen and it isn’t wrong to provide other rewards while cultivating intrinsic ones.

Hence… the different chore systems and reward systems we have used the last five years or so.  And the reinforcers we  use the first couple of weeks of school, as we transition to a full academic day.

This year, we are using blue tickets.  And my lovely blue drawers.   Yes, I love blue, why do you ask?


How does our reward system work this year?

  • For every school assignment completed with a good attitude and with excellence, a ticket is given.
  • The tickets are stored in the lovely blue drawers.
  • The child may exchange tickets for rewards.

Yup, pretty simple.

Our rewards vary, based on the interests of our children. We have a big box with items in it that are “priced” such as fruit snacks, pencils and pens, little notebooks, fancy duct tape, and mini dry erase boards (thank you, Target dollar bins), and we also have a list of rewards that they can exchange for with their tickets.

Reward Box

On the list are things like the following:

  • choose the family movie
  • get a Redbox movie
  • play on the Wii for 30 minutes
  • go to work with Dad
  • go out to lunch with Mom
  • milkshake from the gas station
  • ice cream cone from the place down the street
  • sleep in until 8:00
  • stay up 30 minutes later
  • cereal for breakfast instead of the planned breakfast

There are more and we will add rewards as the year goes on, based on the changing interests of the kiddos.

You could easily provide rewards that are all cost free to you, but are valued by the children, if you wanted to or needed to do so.    About a third of ours are free (ex: choosing a separate lunch, skipping your lunch meal chore, sleeping in, etc).

Today is our first day and the motivation for the tickets is high.  I know that the intensity of the motivation will ebb and flow, but I believe we have chosen motivating items for the rewards.  As the day of school work ended, there were definitely disappointed children in that the higher priced items would require more than a day or two of school work, so a dose of reality and price value will be a part of the economy.

This reward system isn’t just to help the kids.

It’s to help  me also.

If the children are motivated to stay on task, they will make me stay on task.  It’s a win/win.

We keep each other moving forward.

Do I have rewards for myself?  Not yet, but I’m thinking about making my very own reward list and giving myself tickets.  Starbucks, lunch with a friend, a pair of shoes… fun!  Not sure what the principal will think about that.  Ahem.

So, that’s what we are doing this year.

Do you reward your children for completed school work?  Do you reward yourself?

Rewards PIN image


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette Q. August 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Fantastic! I love reward systems that motivate. Any tips for getting kids to “see” things that need doing, and do them without being asked or prompted??? That is a major struggle in our house.


Kersten August 13, 2014 at 8:14 am

We have the treasure box. It is a bin similar to yours with various goodies. They earn a turn at it when they earn 15 stickers on their sticker chart. I put things on their individual sticker chart that the specific child needs to work on, from school, to chores, to character. We have had so much fun this way! Love your blue bins! Where did you find them?


GfG August 13, 2014 at 8:18 am

Hi, Kersten!
Found the lovely blue tray of drawers are Hobby Lobby. I just love it. 🙂

Thanks for chiming in!


Kersten August 14, 2014 at 7:20 am

I wish we had a Hobby Lobby within driving distance. 🙁


GfG August 14, 2014 at 7:58 am

Yes, I understand.
I actually bought this about four years ago and it’s been waiting for a task. I just loved it and knew I would use it for something. I actually try to avoid Hobby Lobby, unless I need something specific, so I don’t spend money. 🙂


The Reader August 13, 2014 at 8:25 am

I have not thought to do rewards like that before; what a great idea! I think I’ll begin that, this year. As you say, it will help us all!


Ruby August 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

I had an app called Chore Pad. It’s set up to reward points for various tasks, like school subjects, reading assignments, daily chores, personal care, etc. The kids get to pick from the treasure box when they reach a certain number of points. The larger prizes require more points. I’ve got stickers, cute pencils, mini play dough, wind-up toys, candy, water colors, coloring books, crayons, etc. They can also choose to save points for an activity, like Wii time, movie nights, trip to ice cream, etc. I let it go over the summer; I think the beginning of school is a great time to get it going again! 🙂


Megan August 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm

We use play money and it is the same concept. I haven’t yet added a “list” of other rewards yet, but I plan to do so very soon. Most of them will be free. Love those cute little boxes. we just have envelopes that they have decorated that sit on our bookshelf!


Dawna August 14, 2014 at 3:43 am

I’ll be using tickets in my classroom this year that students can exchange for rewards. Rewards are mostly free for me: charge your phone on my outlet, play games on your device when work is complete, bring a snack and eat in class, use my awesome feathered pen for one period, use your notes for a test… Rewarding awesomeness is fun for everyone!


Emily August 10, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Hello. I am thinking about using this type of reward system for the coming school year. My question is how many tickets do you require for the rewards? I would love it if you could provide some examples. Congratulations on your growing family.



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