January 17, 2010

The Ticket System

A few months ago I got the idea (thank you, Lord!) for an incentive system for the kids that would encompass their schoolwork as well as chores, attitudes, initiative, etc. The inspiration came from a roll of tickets that was sitting on my counter after a stamping event. I've often used tickets at workshops to encourage guests to be involved in my presentation, to come on time, to bring friends, etc. I figured if they were incentives for women, they might also be for kids!

This idea percolated in my brain for awhile, and I finally typed out a ticket redemption chart that hangs in our kitchen eating area. Also in this area, on the bulletin boards, are envelopes with Charis, Tobin, and Arden's names. This is where they keep the tickets they earn throughout the day.

Here are some ways the kids can earn tickets:
* One ticket for completing school checklists. (They have an appointment with me at some point during the day during which we review their written work.)
* One ticket for completing "funvelope" activities. (I'll post about checklists and funvelopes a different time.)
* One ticket for saying the Bible verse of the week without looking during our breakfast review time.
* During school review times, I give a ticket for volunteering to share something we learned during the day (often around the dinner table so Dad can hear).

The great thing about giving tickets away is that it's completely arbitrary--I haven't tied myself to a particular system, other than giving a ticket for completing school work. I sometimes give a ticket for getting 100% on a math test--but not always. I sometimes give a ticket for answering, "Yes, ma'am" and coming immediately when I call--but not always. I sometimes give a ticket for doing something without being asked--but not always. You get the idea! I don't necessarily want the kids to EXPECT a ticket for doing a good deed, but I do want to recognize their efforts and inspire them to look for ways to help out, be polite, etc.

So, basically, I give tickets for anything I want to encourage.

Likewise, I take away tickets for anything I want to discourage. Yelling at your sibling? Bring me a ticket. Didn't come when I called? Bring me a ticket. Neglecting your chores? Bring me a ticket. Left a pencil on the table for Kenna to find and color on the wall with? Bring me 10 tickets. Grrr. (Just kidding, but that does happen more often than I want to keep track of, sigh.)

So, what to do with all the tickets? Here are some of the privileges that the kids can "buy" with their tickets:

1 ticket = 1 piece of candy
(This came after Halloween, ugh.)

3 tickets = extra snack
I was tired of the kids always asking for food. They get one approved snack, and if they're still hungry, they pay for more food with tickets! Encourages them to eat a decent meal at breakfast and lunch time. :-)

3 tickets = bike break (No one has taken advantage of this lately, LOL.)

5 tickets = 15 minute break from school; game time with Mom; or trampoline time.

10 tickets = 1 hour or less DVD in the afternoon; 1/2 hour computer time in the afternoon; stay up and read one hour after bedtime (from 8 - 9 p.m.). (So if bedtime is late, say 8:30 instead of our normal 8:00, they don't have the option of buying this privilege. Or if we have to get up early the next day, they have to wait to buy this privilege.)

15 tickets = attend Homeschool Skate Day; go to Chick-Fil-a for lunch; go to the Boonshoft Museum.

20 tickets = Go to Young's for lunch.

Note: Whenever there is an outing away from the house, EACH kid has to have the specified number of tickets. Charis has been known to give her brothers a few tickets so we could make it to Homeschool Skate Day, since Charis is always rolling in extra tickets. The boys tend to spend theirs for computer time as soon as they rack up 10 tickets!

Ted and I do put limits on the number of times they can redeem tickets for DVDs or computer time. We don't yet have the physical objects ready, but we plan to have "Media Chips" to give out so that there is a set number of hours per week for media time. When they turn in tickets for game time or whatever, or if they play the Wii or video games at a friend's house, they will have to cash in media chips as well. Ted and I just haven't had a chance to discuss a reasonable total per week. But basically I try to limit it right now to 2-3 afternoons of computer games or DVDs, plus our Friday night movie night.

I'd be glad to answer any questions about this system if you have any. Hopefully I've covered the basics. We've used it for several months now and are happy with it, and I think the kids are, too!


Anonymous said...

OH, Beverly. First I must say thank you to our Lord, who always provides what we need when we need it. Then thanks to you for sharing how the Lord answered your prayers.

Not less than 5 minutes before reading your blog updates, I had a "family meeting" with hubby regarding our little charges new found source of home entertainment... the DSi. It has been a source of distraction for our family from the moment they were purchased. And truth be told, I nearly regret giving the final YES to allow the kids to have them as Christmas presents.

To get to the point, I want our family to enjoy the nuances of technology, but not to the extreme it has done by turning our home into an electronic battle ground. Mom armed with books, kids retort with DSi!

Reading your recent posts on this subject including details on the ticket system gives us/ me a new way to respond to the daily question, "Can I play with my DSi?". Oh wait 'til those charming little ones get up tomorrow! Tickets please, tickets???

Thanks again for sharing...

Monica R.

Anonymous said...

I meant to write not MORE than 5 minutes... (tehee)

Monica R.

Megan said...

Do you require all of the kids to have adequate tickets if one child is going to redeem an hour of DVD time? Our only working DVD player is attached to the TV in the living room, which is also attached to the kitchen, dining room, and playroom. I have not figured out a way to "ground" one child from video-time or reward one child with a special video without having to send the rest of the kids to their bedrooms since that's the only "separate" area of the house. I love my open floor plan (with 'active' kiddos it's great being able to see/hear them all the time from any of the main living areas), but I haven't figured out how to have one child lose TV-time without it also affecting everybody else.

Beverly said...

Monica--so glad you can benefit from this! That's why I posted about it, hoping someone else could take the idea and run with it in whatever direction they needed to go! :-)

Megan--yes, they each are supposed to give me tickets to watch DVDs, do computer games, etc. It works well for us because I can "banish" watchers to the play room in the basement. For an open floor plan, I would maybe suggest that the ticket holders get to watch, while the non-ticket holders "get" to have quiet play time in their room. Maybe they can have toys rotated so that they get a "new" thing to play with in room time?

stampinstars said...

Beverly...Always love hearing what other moms find that works for them! If you wanted to elaborate even more on the ticket & chore system, I know I wouldn't mind...maybe by email would be better! Do you have a posted list of both how to earn & unearn tickets? Thanks so much! I really enjoy reading your blog & I am crossing my fingers that we will be moving to W-P this summer!! Erin

anno said...

I was really interested to read about this idea on your site. DH and I are working on a plan to be implemented soon where we hand out "Cuthill Cash" with which the kids can 'buy' privileges. It's modelled on your idea with the tickets. We have a stack of no-cost privileges which can be redeemed for 10 Cuthill Cash and then others on a sliding cost scale which can be redeemed for more Cuthill Cash. They can spend or save their cash, just like real cash...but there are fines as well for inappropriate behaviour. Thank you for sharing your system...it opened my eyes to some new possibilities.