Saturday, January 2, 2010

More on the Master Schedule and a Penny Incentive Program

We've started implementing our Master Schedule (minus the schoolwork). So far it is going well. We've actually been sitting down to meals together, and spending a few minutes cleaning not just the kitchen but a designated area of the house after meals. I have an incentive program tied to this, and I thought I would explain how it works.

Basically, my children are earning pennies for each successfully completed "task" throughout the day. What earns a penny is up to Mom and Dad, although the children are free to propose "penny projects" when they are motivated to earn more. The idea is to have an immediate incentive for the things we want the children to do. For example, if they are dressed and ready for breakfast on time, they earn a penny. Another penny for appropriate participation during devotional (this means actually singing the songs and reciting the memory scriptures). After-meal chores earn more pennies--this has evolved to one penny for each area in which they complete their assigned chores. The kitchen is a designated area for every meal, the others rotate according to the schedule--bedrooms after breakfast, Living Room after lunch, bathrooms after dinner. I will assign a child something in each area. Today after breakfast, Luke helped clear the table, put away clean silverware from the dishwasher, and picked up toys in the living room. He gets one penny for the kitchen chores and one for the living room chores. Once we start school next week, the children will earn a penny for every workbox task completed. Getting ready for bed and brushing teeth also earn pennies.
All the pennies for a week go into a cup labeled with each child's name. At the end of the week, the pennies are counted. For every ten pennies earned, 1 is set aside for tithing, 1 for a family missionary fund, 1 for a family charity fund, and 2 for the child's savings account. The other 5 go into each child's personal spending account (well, jar...); of course pennies can and hopefully will be traded for larger monetary denominations to put in their jars. My hope is to keep the children motivated, and give out pennies freely enough, that they end up with about $1 dollar for their spending accounts each week. That would mean earning 200 pennies during the week. They can probably earn more if they try--that will be up to them. We haven't tried any kind monetary allowance or incentive program with the children before, so I'm interested to see how it works.
The flip side of earning pennies is of course taking away pennies. Pennies can be lost if a child is disobedient. For now, the rule is that any infraction that merits a time out also merits the loss of a penny. I haven't had to take any pennies away in the last two days, the threat has been enough to keep behavior under control. Children do not loose pennies if they are acting up because of overtiredness/overstimulation. It is intentional, knowing disobedience I am trying to curtail.
My plan for the family charity account is to let whatever money the children contribute accumulate until December; we will then contribute a matching amount (or more) and let the children decide how to use it.

So far, I like the plan. We'll see how it plays out in practice!

1 comment:

Maile said...

I will be curious to know how this goes for you. I'm torn about the idea of using money as a motivation - are you worried your kids will be resistant to doing things when they're not earning pennies?