Chores and Rewards

Updated on February 22, 2010
P.P. asks from Oakland, CA
15 answers

I am looking to introduce a reward system for my 8 year old son but want to do something fun. We've tried star charts and magnetic chore charts before. They work for the first week, then my son quickly loses interest. Does any one have any suggestions on fun ideas for chores? Something that the kids can do online would be great.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the great advice! I tried out and my son absolutely loves it! I was so pleasantly surprised that he is so enthusiastic about making his bed and brushing his teeth. So far we've been using it for a couple of weeks and the excitement hasn't died down yet. I purchased the premium subscription so that he can decorate his house and buy clothes for his cat. He likes the game so much that he invites his friends over to play with him!

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answers from Modesto on

Hi P.,

Something that has worked in my home over the last year, has been popsicle sticks :O)

I wrote chores on the ends of popsicle sticks, like "baseboards", or "play with dog", or whatever is age appropriate. One day each week my boys need to pick 3 sticks from a cute little jar (they made me) to determine which chores they are to help with.

This has been fun because of the mystery of the whole thing.

My boys have also earned "tickets" in my home when they have personal accomplishments. Potty training, cleaning up their toys, whatever the accomplishments may be.... This past week my older son has been running late in the morning, so I rewarded him with a "ticket" yesterday morning when he finally jumped in the car on time! :O) Small rewards go A LONG WAY in my home. When they reach 30 tickets, they can pick out a new toy/game no more than $20. This usually takes about 3 months to accomplish, and it avoids ALL the little things they want from Walgreens or the Supermarket. I only have to say, "do you have enough tickets?".....

Anyway, I hope those ideas might work for you :O)

Happy Easter!

~N. :o)

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answers from Sacramento on

We have "Wii Money" but this concept could be applied to any free time activity:-)

I used a Printshop type program to create "money" from the business card formats. Each kiddo has his/her own bills with their picture on them.

I then created a chart with daily chores from brushing teeth/keeping sink clean to keeping rooms picked up to taking care of animals, etc. Kids can also earn bonus bucks for going above and beyond or lose bucks for poor behavior.

At the end of the day, they need to total their bucks and report to either my husband or me to be paid. We equate this to taking care of a time sheet in a work situation.

After being paid, they need to track the money in their check register (we gave the kids their own real register-the ones that come with our checks-they really like that!)

Then when they want to play the Wii they have to set a timer and pay for their time and track the money spent in their register as well.

Several birds, one stone! Have a good day!

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answers from San Francisco on

How about money?

(Kids should have chores that they just HAVE to do, so they shouldn't necessarily be rewarded. I have never given my kids allowance, so paying them for extra chores has seemed appropriate. With some kids you need to give them a timeline in which to do the chores, and then be patient, 'cause they won't exactly hop to them.)

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answers from Sacramento on

I'm not sure that chores necessarily need to be fun in order for your son to do them. I think there are some things in life that just need to be done because it is part of life and part of contributing to the family.

My children (7 & 8 1/2) have a short list of expectations to help keep the house running smoothly--pick up your messes, put your laundry away when asked, fold towels when asked, keep your room clean. If they are good about doing these things, they can earn extra money on the weekends by doing harder, more time-intense chores such as cleaning the windowsills or baseboards, sweeping, dusting....stuff I'd rather not do, but that is not too hard for them depending on thier age. I also have taken the time to teach them how I like these chores done and it takes several times of re-teaching. I am also going to start incorporating a daily chore--something they do every day in addition to the expectations such as setting the table, dishes in the dishwasher, sorting laundry--that they can earn money for IF it is done every day for the week. The only reason we haven't done this yet is because we are very busy with sports, music lessons etc., but I think it is important for them to learn.

Just keep in mind that the goal of chores is to TEACH--teach how to do a job well done, how to contribute to the family, how to earn money. Not all lessons in life are going to be fun.

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answers from Fresno on

I'm with Page and Toni on this one... I don't really think chores deserve a reward. These are things that children need to do in order for the whole household to run smoothly. My girls (6 and almost 4) have chores appropriate to their ages (such as sorting laundry into dark and light, loading it into the washer, feeding the cat, cleaning up their toys, making their beds, putting the dinner dishes in the sink when we are done eating). I do not reward them other than by giving them praise for doing their chores well. Of course they don't always want to do their chores - they would rather play. But, I remind them that mommy and daddy are not servants, and we all have our jobs to do.

I would recommend John Rosemond's book "Parent Power!" - he gives some great common-sense advice for this and other subjects.

Good luck!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I give my daughter allowance. No strings attached. Seriously.
She also has chores to do. If she doesn't do a chore and I have to do it, I deduct from her allowance. She pays me to do the chore. I swear, if I had more than one child that would work better. I'm sure other children would be finding ways to get the other's money.

Anyway, I don't buy her things when we shop. She has an allowance, if she wants to buy a pack of gum, she can buy it. If she wants to save and get a Bakugon, she can. It's the saving and spending that drives the chores, I think.


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answers from San Francisco on

Dear P.,

Becoming a focused and responsible person (starting as a child) is NOT always a FUN process. (i.e. “They work for the first week, then my son quickly loses interest”). REVERSE that THINKING!

What are you asking you son to do?

· Make his bed
· Eat his food
· Pick up his toys
· Be nice and polite to other people (children or adults)
· Take a bath
· Brush his teeth
· Be kind to his siblings (doesn’t sound like he has any which might be a GOOD THING at this point)
· Do his homework
· Get ready for bed when he is asked

Forget the fun and FOCUS on positive results. Chart or no chart, their should be rewards for good behavior and consequences for bad behavior.

What are the consequences your son faces when he does not do what he should do or is asked to do?

You are the parents, make the list and stick to it! If your son is board with or can’t stick to a chart, just talk to him; let him know what is expected and ask him to mirror it back to you so you ALL have a clear understanding of what is expected.


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answers from San Francisco on

I haven't tried this myself, but if your family likes RPG (role playing games), try



answers from San Francisco on

We don't link chores to rewards. Chores are chores. My son is the same age. If he does his chores he receives an allowance every two weeks. If he does not do them I put his card on Red and he doesn't receive it. He like to receive an allowance (which is not much by the way) and he saves his money to buy what he wants and I let him go to the store and pick out something. Occasionally I will chip in to help him. Sometimes he just saves it and once he offered to buy me something with it for Christmas-smile. On the other hand I do have a rewards system in place for Good Homework, Behavior etc. and I let him set the rewards. This time 'round he chose the following: If he gets 30 points he has chosen "a day trip somewhere that we both agree on." If he receives 60 points he can have "an extra hour of game time every week for a month" and if he receives 90 points he can pick out "any 3 books of his choice" at Barnes and Noble. We change rewards every time he reaches the goals and this is usually every 2 - 3 months. Good luck and have fun with it!



answers from Bakersfield on

Have him be part of the decision for the reward, and make it something he could earn within a month. You could use the charts to have him earn whatever it is you two come up with.



answers from Chico on

Check out for printable chore chrts and an online version. It's free. I haven't tried it, but it was suggested by a friend of mine and I was holding on to it until my children get a little older!



answers from San Francisco on is awesome! There are "learning" videos and a reward program... the fairy visits and if there is a mess she might leave a glittery dust (which must then get cleaned up), she leaves notes of encouragement and small gifts too for a job well done. She is Santa's sister so there's motivation to get a good word for his "good list". She lives in FairyLand and knows all types of characters and writes to us about them. She originally wanted to be a tooth fairy and had to learn a lesson about having a good attitude. She has a hilarious video clip about why chewing with your mouth closed is a good idea! Have fun!



answers from San Francisco on

i have games to play for clean up but after a wk what a earned
1) guessing what has been put away( ea person puts 1 item away)
2) washing dishes ....using a spray/squirt bottle try washing a dish with eyes closed



answers from Fresno on

When my youngest son was in kindergarten he was having a lot of behavioral problems in school. His teacher and I worked a award system in which good behavior earned little cubes in his container, at the end of the week if he had a certain number of cubes he earned a reward. At first it was a tangible reward, usually with him being able to go to the dollar store and pick out a few things he wanted. This worked out great for the first couple of weeks but then was not that effective after that. We then started letting him earn game time with good behavior. He loved playing board games but loved the one on one attention from me even more, I really enjoyed this time too. The earning game time has been the most effective reward system with my son an reinforces that positive behavior gets positive attention. I don't know why this wouldn't work with chores as well. Completed chores earn some fun time.



answers from Boston on

I have a level chart . It is kind of like a star chart but not one. Kids at that age like to do things with parents so make it something you normally do not do with him. Something that fits you can put out for money. Even given money for each chore and bring him to the store to buy something. Makes them feel like a big boy.Plus teaches them how to save money too.

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