I have tried DOZENS of different reward systems with my kids. It seems inevitable that each system and method falls apart eventually – usually when I start forgetting to support it. ;) But, then we regroup and try something new, with fresh energy and dedication. It’s actually a cycle that, while frustrating beyond reason some of the time, I actually mostly enjoy.
I love systems that help me focus on good behavior and right choices. I also love to reward kids for getting things done well. We’ve tried all sorts of reward charts and pom poms in a jar and pennies for positive choices and many many more. This summer we are coming back to one that I really loved and that was SUPER simple to remember and enforce (for good and bad). We call them “Choose the Right Path” boards. I had so much fun making these for my kids and they LOVE them!
Here is how they work at our house… If a child does what he or she is asked the FIRST time I ask them, they get to move up a spot. EVERY SINGLE TIME. If I have to ask a second time, we call it a wash – sort of. But if I have to repeat myself multiple times, they move down a spot. If they do what they know they should without me asking though, they get to move up TWO spaces – they love sneaking about, doing something good, and telling me they did it so I can cheer and order them (in my most forceful voice of course) that they had better go and move up two spaces! Once they reach the top, then they get a reward. We have been doing Airheads lately, but we’ve done all sorts of treats and special privileges. Really, if this is how we are using the chart, they can easily get up to the top in a couple of days or even less if we are all home together all day.
An alternative use that we come up with for these same charts was not specifically based on being quick to obey. Each child set a goal to be better at doing something that they felt weak in. Those kids also selected a reward to earn up towards. We had them select things that would take them a sufficiently challenging amount of time to earn for the awesomeness of the reward. THREE picked not getting angry and got to have a new camping supply after he reached the top and TWO picked making her bed – without all the random junk dumped on/in it with a trip to an art museum as her reward. (BTW, she’s still waiting to collect on that long time previously earned reward – blasted bed rest hit right as she earned it and we simply haven’t made it yet. That kid is one amazingly patient and forgiving soul. I need to be more like her! I can’t wait to make it up to her with a big huge art exploration day to all the galleries and museums we can handle one day this summer!!)
These could also be used for any FHE where you need a game board that teaches how obeying some principle or other helps us feel happy. You could even simply focus on the Children’s Songbook song that goes something like…
“There’s a right way to live and be happy,
it is choosing the right everyday…
Choose the right way
and be happy…”
That song, plus these charts, and an overview of rules and their meaning and your reasons for having them.
But really, the sky’s the limit in how these could be used. Anything where you have a goal of happiness is a great fit for these super simple and generic boards. I’ve considered making additional ones with a cute little red head or a kiddo with less of fair skin or some such, but simply stopped with the ones I needed for my 5 kids big enough to play along. (And yes, the 3-year-old understands and LOVES to use this reward system!) If there is a specific different look that would be super beneficial to you, let me know and I might just have to see what I can do. Otherwise, enjoy! I hope these little choose the right path charts make your little people as happy as they have mine and happy summer break! :)
Here are the links to the charts. Just click on the description of the chart to open its PDF.
Choose the Right Path game boards by Katie’s Blog-ness are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.