Posted in Parenting

How to Make and Use a Chore Jar and Reward Jar

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of rewards and consequences when it’s time to use them. And sometimes using the same consequence or same reward can get really old… for you and your child.

Chore/Reward Jars fix this by letting you think of chores and rewards in advance, then letting/making your child pick one when it’s time. BONUS: they are super easy to make! Just follow these steps:

  1. Get two mason jars and a handful of popsicle sticks
  2. Use a permanent marker to write down your chores and rewards – one per popsicle stick.
  3. Place the chore sticks in one jar and the reward sticks in another.
  4. Wait until your kiddo earns a reward or consequence.
  5. When the time comes, tell your child to either pull out a chore stick (for negative behavior) or reward stick (for positive behavior).
  6. Follow through (or have your child follow through) with whatever is on the stick.

You can make these super fancy if you want… I’ve seen color-coded ones that are different levels of chores/rewards. And I’ve seen some decorated jars from some really creative parents. You can also use something other than jars and popsicle sticks. For example, you could use disposable cups and slips of paper. Or a bowl and pieces of paper.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Be realistic with the chores – a chore that you have to help your child with might actually be reinforcing because your child gets one-on-one time with you. So include only chores your child can do on their own (or that they can attempt and you can “fix” it afterwards).
  • Ask your kid for input on (reasonable) rewards – you want to make sure they’re excited about picking something from the reward jar. They can even help you “make” the jars!
  • Explain the chore/reward jars to your kiddo so they aren’t confused the first time you use them.
  • Make sure the rewards are something you can follow through on, even if you’re in a hurry or if money is tight that week. The last thing you want is for your child to be excited about a reward then tell him/her that they have to pick a different one.
  • Add new chores/rewards to the jar occasionally so that there’s some variety.

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