Mini Rewards

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 26 September, 2012 at

I tried a lot of different ways to motivate my five-year-old into practicing her violin, but nothing really struck with her.  We started with stickers on a chart for every day of practice, to be redeemed for special rewards, like a small gift or going out for ice cream with Daddy.  She liked that in theory but it just didn’t last.  Then I tried a cute glass jar and pennies. I told her she could have five pennies to put in her jar every time she practiced.  She thought that was a great idea, except it really only happened one time and she showed no interest in the future.  (Yes, I’m cheap, but she doesn’t understand money and I shouldn’t have to pay her to practice anyway. Winking smile )  I think the problem with these approaches, for her, was that the benefit was too abstract.  It’s great that you’re going to get something cool LATER, but what about NOW? 

Finally, I came up with this.

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The perfect reward for good behavior! They’re little round cups with tissue paper on top. To open them, you just press your fingers through the top and tear the paper.  Inside, you can put anything small.  These have two Hershey’s kisses, a mini Reese’s cup or small coins, but you could use anything, as long as it fits.  Evelyn loves chocolate, but this isn’t enough that it makes her hyper, so we’re both happy.  It’s an immediate response to her behavior, so she doesn’t have to wait for a reward, and there’s something immensely satisfying about popping your fingers through that tissue paper top to pull out the candy inside. It’s like Christmas morning! 

I like a good excuse to break out the mod podge as well as the next person, but sometimes, instant gratification is what I’m going for.  I started with a plain old recycled plastic container, wrapped a folded piece of tissue paper around it and secured it with a yellow ribbon.  The ribbon wasn’t long enough to tie in a pretty bow, so I used a hair flower (homemade) with an alligator clip on the back to add a little bling to the front.  It took less than five minutes and turned out pretty cute. 

 

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The cups were just as easy.  I happened to have a dozen yellow medicine caps that I had saved for crafting purposes to use for this, but you could use applesauce cups or small boxes. Since I want to be able to refill these cups when they’re empty, I wanted something quick and easy.  I cut out rough squares out of my pretty tissue papers, put them on top of the cups and and stuck a rubber band around the outside.  Done.

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The best part is that it’s really worked.  She still enjoys opening them, and so she will do her violin practice and her homework in order to get to open one.  You could use this for anything you want to motivate your kids to do, or just have them as random surprises when you see good behavior in action. 

I just wish someone would make motivational rewards for me.  I would like large sums of cash, dimaonds or strawberry pie inside mine, please.


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