Alison, one of my favorite moms (that is mother of one of my students!) was struggling to get her two girls to complete daily tasks without an argument. She and her husband came up with a reward chart that used marbles to earn or lose rewards.
The chart itself uses clip art that is bright, colorful, and whimsical, making the entire process fun for the 5 and 8 year old girls. It allows for the younger girl, who can’t yet read, to be able to understand it.
For example, first line which includes colorful pictures representing the morning routine of waking up, going to the potty, brushing teeth, and getting dressed.For completing those tasks, the girls each get a marble. There are many opportunities throughout the day to earn additional marbles, from washing hands to staying dry all day, to getting themselves ready for school.
Alison explains, “As they got used to it, we started to expect them to do the things with one prompting by us. If they needed us to remind them over again, no marble. Also, there are things they do to earn extra marbles, including any type of good deed that they are doing that wouldn't necessarily be an everyday chore. It definitely encourages them to be helpful to Mommy! For example, they are rewarded for really great behavior if we are somewhere where really great behavior is appreciated.”
Throughout the day, the children can turn their accumulated marbles in for rewards, which Alison has also listed on a chart. These include dessert, an extra book or chapter (depending on the length of the book or chapter,) or 30 minutes of television or computer time. For the child hoping to save money to buy something, any marbles not exchanged can be turned into cash – a quarter a marble. This added money becomes their allowance at the end of the week.
Alison points out that it is fun to give them extra marbles when they earn them, however, the girls lose a marble when sent for time out. The family’s number one sin, lying, loses the whole day’s marbles.
So far, the system has turned their house into a more organized, stress-free environment, while teaching the girls responsibility.