Chores and Rewards: Do You Have a System?

puffsGetting kids to behave and help out around the house, not super easy, right? We've tried everything, apps, chore charts, allowance, all with mixed results, none of which were that successful. Until now. Enter the Puff Jars. On our shelf we have three mason jars labeled for the three older kids and a larger jar full of puffballs. The idea couldn't be more simple. For chores (making their beds, cleaning their playroom and bedrooms, feeding the dogs, etc.) they don't get any puffballs. We decided that those basic chores were part of the daily housework that needs to get done and just like I don't get any extra credit for doing the dishes or folding laundry, they should get used to being responsible for their own stuff without being rewarded for it.

Instead, the puffballs get doled out for good behavior as positive reinforcement. If they are nice to their siblings, if they share without being asked, they get a puff. If they get all of their homework done without being asked 8 billion times, they get a puff. If they jump in and help out when asked (and they get asked often), they get a puff. The puffs also get taken away for negative behavior, yelling, pushing, a bad attitude.

This system has worked so far because it is easily understood by my oldest (7) and the toddler (2), so they can all have the same system. If they work together (which happens occasionally, albeit not super frequently), they can all get a puff. Once they earn a certain number of puffs they can trade them in for either an allowance, some Minecraft time (my 7 year old's choice nearly every week) or a treat like a trip to the playground or an ice cream cone.

How about you guys, do you have a chore and reward system at home? What works for you, what doesn't work?