Earning toys

I started to write this morning, because I really wanted to get this up, but then I became convinced/convicted I really should be out there playing with my kids.  So, instead I was good and spent the morning making bugs and doing a science lesson.  It was a blast!

My kids have I’d guess 3 ways they get toys:

1.  The easy method Christmas or birthday presents.  I try to keep it to one or two fun toys, a game, and a book.  That’s my goal.  I like to give presents, that’s one of my primary love languages, that and time spent, so it is a real challenge for me not to give too many.

2.  They earn them by achieving a goal.  These goals are not morally motivated, so they don’t earn toys by telling the truth or by behaving correctly, that to me is a little too close to bribery.  So far they’ve mostly earned toys for potty training rewards.  They’d find a toy at the store they NEEDED to have, did you see that all caps?  That’s how much they needed it, they were going to have a terrible life if they didn’t get it.  I would look at how much the toy cost and then decide the number of times they needed to do something to get their goal.  So, back when we were desperate for Superman to understand going poop in the potty he got a comic for doing so (comics are about $2-3), it was rather extravagant, but we did that once or twice and then it became all day with no accidents, and eventually several days.

Now for bigger toys that are more than $5 I usually put something more.  So when the boys saw a Batmobile they were desperate for that they had to be dry overnight for 25 nights.  It didn’t have to be in a row, it was just be dry.

Princess right now is trying to earn an Ariel toy.  She’s very disappointed the castle she got didn’t come with a  Ariel doll, don’t you understand Mommy?  There’s a picture of Ariel in the bathtub on the box, so she goes in the bathtub and Aurora goes in the bed, because that’s where she is on the box.
But, I digress……..  I’ve heard that a few too many times.   So, we’re going through the potty training torture with her.  She’s fairly good, but doesn’t tend to remember on her own.  So, she’s not really close yet, but we’re getting there.

3.  The final way they “earn” toys is the old-fashioned way.  They work for them.  We have two different types of chores in our family: the ones you do because you’re part of the family, and the ones you do to get paid.  As I split it up in my mind, anything that happens downstairs where people are going to see our house is you do it because I said so.  Upstairs I’m more likely to pay you.

Here’s items I’ve paid them for:
1.  room clean for 1 week: $1
2.  bed made for the week: $1
3.  washing baseboards: $.25 (I got this idea from a friend, they’re at the perfect height).
4.  cleaning outside, which is really lots of fetching and carrying.  They get whatever I feel is fair at the time.  So one time I think they each got $3 for helping with weeding, putting leaves and such in the trash and digging holes.

Honestly, we don’t do all that great on paying them for their chores.  They don’t tend to remember to clean without reminders, and I don’t tend to remember to pay unless they remind me.  I’ve been thinking for a while about hanging up some kind of magnetic chore chart, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do.

And for those who are curious our principals are somewhat based off of these two sites:
Dave Ramsey– based off these principals our family is debt free, so I highly recommend him, he’s got classes for most every age group.  I’m going to start the boys on a more formalized chore system in a few months when they turn 5 I think.  Like I said this is a work in progress.

Growing Families International– They’re where I got the idea of earning toys for behaviors that aren’t moral.  We were lucky to take several of their classes and lead a couple of them.  I want to retake the “older kid” class sometime soon, by older I mean preschool to elementary.

Well, hopefully that answered your questions Natalie.

8 thoughts on “Earning toys

  1. Keeping chores, and allowances consistent takes so much discipline – I'd really like to improve in that area.

    As to the Anne of Green Gables thing – I laughed pretty hard at the girly girl remark. I was pretty far from that as a teen – but I was very bookish, and into poetry, and all things romantic – so Anne appealed to me. That, and it was the only thing worth watching on Canadian television!

  2. This is pretty much what we've been doing with potty training and basic chores like making the bed. Except no money, yet. Mostly matchbox cars and there is a promised trip for ice cream soon! It seems to be working pretty well, and now Crumpet offers me toys of his if I'll do my “chores” (things he wants from me!).

  3. Thanks for answering my questions! Your system sounds pretty interesting, and thanks for all the links. I agree with the premise of dividing chores of “must do” and “choose to do for reward”. One thing that I am worried about is to create a reward junkie that will only perform because she expects to be rewarded for her actions. Still, she is rewarded for her reading efforts with a chocolate coin and was rewarded during potty training with poop prizes similar to what you did. We might consider some sort of money-based system after 4, we still keep debating details 🙂

  4. We haven't started allowance yet. My 3 year old still loves to help out with chores. He thinks it is great. We are very blessed. I know the day will come, though. I will have to file this away in my brain (and hope it doesn't get lost).

  5. We have never been able to make an allowance system work. I don't know why. Now, the kids are expected to do certain things and they don't get paid for them. If we are working toward a specific goal, we might attach rewards on occasion. I like your system. I have to find out more about Dave Ramsey..

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