We used to use a “token system” to reward the kids and encourage them to do stuff that kids generally don’t like doing. They would earn tokens when they did what they were supposed to, and would lose them when they really sent us insane or (less often) were naughty. When they earned a whole bunch they got to cash the tokens in for a pick from the “treasure chest”, which in reality is far less exciting than it sounds, being a plastic tub full of toys, DVD’s and other odds-and-ends generally picked up from the cheap shops.
It was effective, but a major flaw in our system was that it was all set up at home in the kitchen and we were constantly out-and-about telling the kids “that’s a token when we get home”. Another issue we ran into was that the really crap toys were always left rolling around in the bottom of the tub because we miss-judged how awesome the kids would think “Woddy-the-not-a-Toy-Story-rip-off-doll” was.
Anyway, we found a solution in the form of an app called iRewardChart. There are quite a lot of simple reward charts out there, but this one has been a real winner. We can set up each child with their own unique set of activities and actions that will earn them “stars”, and also create a list of child-specific rewards that cost whatever we think is appropriate. For example, Matilda is the kind of child that would much rather sit inside and watch DVD’s than go outside and run around. Sure, we would tell her to go and she would, with all the expected complaints, groans and pouts. So we set iRewardChart up so that playing outside for 30 minutes earned 4 stars, and watching half an hour of videos cost 4 stars. Guess what? She is outside two or three times a day, on her scooter, jumping on the trampoline and generally running around. In fact, she is out there right now!
The app comes with a whole bunch of chores, behaviours and other activities that you can select from, and you can create your own. You can determine how many stars each activity is worth when you set up the child’s chart. It also has a heap of pre-loaded rewards, but we found it much better to talk to the kids, ask them what rewards they would like to work towards, and even how many stars they think they should be worth. That was an interesting exercise, and I was really surprised at the kinds of things the kids picked as rewards and how sensible they were when suggesting costs. Gilbert, for example, told us he wanted to go camping (100 stars – I don’t want to go too often!), and Matilda wanted to buy a toy when we went to Disney On Ice (40 points).
The system is working really well. And I haven’t even got to the best part yet! Kirsty and I both purchased the app ($3.99 in the Apple App Store) and are able to sync the reward chart between our phones. That way we can both update with stars as they are earned, and “payout” the rewards as they are “purchased”. We can be out and about with different children and give and take stars with mad abandon, and not have to remember to adjust the tokens when we get home! We can show the kids as we are adding stars, and they can ask us at any time “How many stars have I got?”. Matilda has really taken to this, and I think is actually learning the concept of saving for things.
Anyway, long-story short – if you are after a good app to track rewards for your kids (or yourself – I am seriously considering using it to reward myself for completing exercise or work!), iRewardChart is worth checking out. There is a free “Lite” version to try it out, though we upgraded almost immediately! It is available for i-devices, Androids and a host of other devices. Check out the official website here, or search the relevant app store!
The above review is not sponsored or paid for in any way. It is of a product I have purchased, used and experienced myself, and am sharing with readers as I feel it is of value to you.
What a well thought out, detailed review! Thanks Nathan, and we are so glad to be doing our bit to help all the parents out there. The gratification from such feedback is priceless.
No problem! Keep up the great work!