I must admit that I have not always practiced the girls reading and times tables the way that I should.
I was pretty much able to convince myself that the school work didn’t matter because they are still quite young (they were in grades 1 and 2), and they would get enough practice at school.
But school work does matter. I believe that the children’s education is the most important thing in their lives. Not their sport or their social lives. I really want them to understand that even though they excel and enjoy their sports, school work is the most important thing. Even though they are still young, I think it is important to introduce good early study habits.
School resumes this Wednesday for my children so I thought this would be a great time to really make school work matter. To do this I have decided to introduce some structure into the girls routine in the form of a reward chart.
Initially I struggled a little with the concept of a reward chart because I believe that motivation to complete tasks is best coming from an internal source, intrinsic motivation. rather than coming from rewards or bribes. In reality though, we all do work with the expectation of a reward…just instead of stickers, it is a deposit into our bank accounts!
However, a good reward chart does more than just offer an incentive to complete tasks. The reward chart also sets out the expectations I have for the children, so that the kids and I are both clear on exactly what they need to do. It is also a way of giving them a sense of satisfaction for doing their set tasks. In addition, it teaches the children valuable lessons about goal setting.
I also really like the reward chart system because it lets the kids know that I have recognized they have done a good job in completing their tasks. It acts as positive reinforcement for a job well done.
I have found some really great reward charts on the site goalforit. This site enables you to construct your own reward chart with everything from the background, right to the list of tasks. The charts are very visually appealing and the cute picture on the icons make it easy for the kids to understand.
|This is an example chart from the goalforit site|
Some of the many icons you can choose from
I sat with each of my children at the computer and we designed their individual reward chart. Flash chose the surfer girl, Muscles the pink panda and Buster chose aliens.
We then talked about what tasks, such as homework, packing their school bags, doing their sports training and buster doing his speech therapy, to add to the reward chart and why they were important. I let them have input into the tasks and we came to an easy agreement (heavily guided by me!). I think this process gave them some ownership and responsibility for the reward chart. The process was also a lot of fun!
The goalforit site has the option of completing the chart on line and attaching a points system to each task which earns rewards in term of ‘moolah’. For the charts designed for tweens and teenagers there is also the option to set a SMS message to be sent to the kid’s mobile phone to remind them to complete a task....like clean their room!!....imagine that!
I took the option of printing the reward chart and my children are extremely excited just to have stickers. I have told them for every 50 stickers (about 1 week) they can choose an app or song for their iPods….they are extremely excited!! ($1.99 is a small price to pay…. but they think it is’ huge’ to get a new game :) )
The kids are so enthusiastic about starting their reward charts with the commencement of school on Wednesday. Now that I have set this reward chart process up, I believe it will be much easier to keep the momentum going, so that completion of the daily tasks becomes a habit.
I am linking this post to the Me and YOU making IT matter meme at A Parenting Life. This is a great meme that encourages and supports you to choose one thing every week to really make matter. Click over to A Parenting Life to see the inspirational posts about making things matter. You never know, you may be inspired into making something important really matter to you, and start making some positive changes in your life.
And because it is technically Tuesday (12.02am!), I am linking this post with the crazy vlogger, Jess at Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT . Come over and see what has been blogged about on Tuedsay!