DIY reward system

Ever feel that you spend all of your time telling your kids to stop doing things? Having 3 kids I spend a tonne of my time managing all kinds of behaviour. I’ve definitely had days where I’m sick of the sound of my own voice!

I feel like we really work on how we deal with challenging behaviour. To back this up I really wanted to find a good way of reinforcing good behaviour too.

I wanted something a bit more substantial than a sticker chart.  I’ve seen some super cute reward boxes online.  However the one that I really liked (from a company called Reward Box) cost around £35 each.  I thought it was too expensive to buy three of these. Instead I had a go at making my own DIY reward system.

I knew that we needed something very visual so I decided gold star tokens would be cool.  I painted up these wooden stars (from Amazon) with gold acrylic paint (from WH Smith).  I decided that transparent jars would work well – that way the kids could see their gold stars building up. I bought plastic ones from Amazon, they are the perfect size and won’t break easily.

reward system stars

The kids have a jar each – I’ve just written their names on with marker pen at the moment – I’ll switch them for nicer labels once I find some nice ones.  The total cost of this reward system was about £11 (£4.00 for x 30 stars, £3.00 for the 3 jars and £4.00 for the gold paint).

Sofia's reward jar

The idea is really simple – you get a gold star for being good, kind or helpful. For example the twins (age 3.5) will get stars for sharing their toys nicely, helping in the supermarket and getting dressed without any help. As Sofia is older (age 7) she needs to do something a bit more substantial to get a star.

Once you earn 10 stars you will receive a little treat. I decided on 10 stars so that it didn’t take too long to get a reward. I knew that the boys wouldn’t have the patience to wait a long time.  I think that getting a little treat quite frequently would be most motivating.

Reward system rules

I decided to start using the reward system over half term. As it was a rainy week and I was looking after the kids on my own it had the potential to be a bit of a tough week.  The kids were very enthusiastic about the system and seemed to get the idea straight away. Sofia in particular was on a mission – she decided that she really wanted to get an Animal Jam membership card (which costs about £5). She went into complete overdrive trying to find jobs to do around the house. She’d got up to 10 stars within 2 days.

The boys took a little bit of encouragement to start getting their stars but once the penny dropped they started getting involved too. Leo got his reward first (a Kinder egg with a Minion Figure inside). Sam was a bit annoyed when he didn’t get a treat at the same time so I had to really try and explain that he still had a few stars to go. He was ecstatic when he finally got his Kinder Egg.

I’ve realised that I need to make an effort to catch the kids being good (how does it come so much more naturally to catch them being monkeys?!) I’ve also realised that I need to find opportunities for the kids to be helpful, I especially needs to think of tasks that the boys can do.

I’m enjoying thinking of ways to help the kids get their stars and also thinking of little things that I can give them as treats. I’ve stocked up on a few things ahead of time (a new t’shirt for Sofia and magazines for the boys). I think it will also be good to have experience treats to like a trip to the cinema or a nice lunch somewhere.

We are loving how our reward system is working. It is great to have a way to recognise and celebrate the everyday moments of positive and lovely behaviour. I wish I could have a jar to earn myself treats too!

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