Reward System for Kids

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xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Good Day,

This is my first real post since signing up. I did a quick search, but I did not see anything.

My precious little girl is three. I borderline live legalistic, but I do often rest in grace. Take that however you may, but my hope is to teach my little girl many things such as (in no particular order):

1. alphabet (song/sing - looking at poster or in the dark before bed) in English and Korean
2. phonics (song/sing - looking at poster or in the dark before bed) in English and Korean
- she and I have been doing a phonics book a few days a week
3. reading (her own "just looking" - one of her choice before bed - in Korean or English - usually English
with "Papa")
4. writing (Korean or English alphabet Book)
5. Bible study (Children's Bible Reading Plan | HeadHeartHand Blog David Murry's
plan, which has a morning and evening passage)
6. "Questions" (as they have come to be know as - Westminster in particular (Shorter Catechism )
- I split them up - 1-56 one day - 57-107 the next...with grace in between
7. Bible reading (before bed - a Proverb, Psalm, or now a chapter of Job (I do not mean one of each - we did
all the Psalms, then Proverbs, most recently we have been trying Job)
8. Math (times table 1-9)
9. Greek alphabet (which is really just for me, but she has remembered it now; next will be Hebrew)
10. ? ...maybe that's all...

Wow, now that I write it all down, it seems like a lot. However, it is really "doable". I cannot say that we stick to it everyday, but at times we do and she actually likes it. I am open to suggestions, comments or problems.

But, what I am actually wondering is about a "Reward System for Kids". There are other things that I would like to include on the list such as helping "mama", eating everything that is set before her, behaving well in particular situations, cleaning up her own mess, etc... I realize that there is a lot to ask of her, but I would like to reward her for her efforts.

Does anyone have any suggestions in this area? Do you have any templates for a computer, wall or just on a piece of paper. I was thinking of a "sticker" board of some sort, where 5 gets..., 10 gets... and so on and so forth.

The backdrop is that I would like to get her reading and reading on her own. One thing that we allow her to do is watch shows that we find on the Internet (it was Pororo, then Caillou, now it is The Berenstain Bears). All of which are most unprofitable and often times annoying, but I am often guilty of allowing her to watch them so that I can "do my own thing" - whatever that may be. We do not have a television, so the good thing is that she is somewhat restricted as to what passes by her mind (even the aforementioned are mind numbing), but I am mindful that she could be spending her time more productively. Do not get me wrong, "papa" plays with her and she often times plays with the neighbor's children, so she does do more than just "the list", but I would like her to have some direction (goal?).

Like I said up front, I am borderline legalistic, thus maybe I am totally out to lunch, but I believe that I am settled firmly in grace - at least until I try to do something about it, so you all may have more issues to address with me than what I am asking.

She is our first child, but we are expecting our second in August. My hope is that we can get some advice, so that we can map out a plan with this little girl, so that that little boy (!) will benefit from his parents willingness to learn the approximate way as to teach our children in the Way of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ,
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
Brian, I'll let the moms and dads answer your question. I just wanted to welcome you to the board and say that I am from Dartmouth!
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Some will disagree, but I suggest you NOT reward her for Bible reading, saying prayers, catechism and the like. Those things put us in touch with God, which ought to be the greatest reward in itself. Other rewards just cheapen it. And if you do those things with her, the time spent with you will also be something she treasures and looks forward to.

Some rewards for schoolwork-type stuff can be helpful. We've done special gifts for piano practice, learning multiplication tables and so on. An easy, family-centered (and popular) reward in our house is getting to pick the menu for dinner. We've tried to choose gifts that are creative and active (a camera) rather than passive and plugged in.

In our home, some of what you mentioned is the reward rather than the task. For example, if my kids clean up their rooms and get ready for bed on time, they get to read in bed for a half hour before lights out. When they were younger, we would read to them if they were ready in time. That way reading isn't the chore but, rather, the reward.

Generally, kids like to learn. Making learning into something you "have" to do to get a prize should be used sparingly. Your kid is young enough that you can still create an atmosphere in your home where learning is a fun privilege, not a chore. Don't push too hard. If you regularly read to her, she should naturally take an interest in things like alphabets and writing when she's cognitively ready. And if you then take an interest in her, praising her and celebrating with her as she learns, she shouldn't need many other rewards.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
Three years old is early to expect reading.

I am concerned that if you expect all of this from a three year old, and she can't do it, or can't do it well, that she will become frustrated and get an anti-learning complex.

So I encourage you, if you must proceed with this program, to make it positive and fun and light hearted.

Also I encourage you to have time when she can do what she wants, unless it is sinful, for example watching "Berenstain Bears." Children are not robots, they need down time and time to develop their own interests and time to relax in their own way. If you do not let them have that, they can become nervous, unhappy, and sort of crippled, by this I mean they don't develop as independent thinkers and don't feel confident to develop their gifts and explore their interests.

Please give her permission to fail. If you do not, she will probably get to the point where she is afraid to try.

You are her parent, and you are the right parent for her. Tending towards legalism is part of your personality, so as long as you are aware of it, she may just need to realize that lists, goals, stickers on a sheet and regimented time are part of who you are. Since she is your daughter, it may well end up being part of who she is, too.

But it is good, I think, to tell her if you are aware of a weakness. Something like, "I want to practice catechism with you every day, because it is so important for you learn, but I want you to understand that God loves you and I love you whether you recite it perfectly or not." I really think you need to make statements like this regularly if your tendency is to be legalistic. It would be good for you as well as her.

Finally, I encourage you to have her share her interests (maybe she'd like to fly a kite. Maybe she wants to go to the zoo. Maybe she wants to visit an ice cream parlor, play a game with you). Try to do something she wants to do every day, and try to enjoy it, even if there is no gold sticker for it afterwards!
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Some will disagree, but I suggest you NOT reward her for Bible reading, saying prayers, catechism and the like. Those things put us in touch with God, which ought to be the greatest reward in itself. Other rewards just cheapen it. And if you do those things with her, the time spent with you will also be something she treasures and looks forward to.

Some rewards for schoolwork-type stuff can be helpful. We've done special gifts for piano practice, learning multiplication tables and so on. An easy, family-centered (and popular) reward in our house is getting to pick the menu for dinner. We've tried to choose gifts that are creative and active (a camera) rather than passive and plugged in.

In our home, some of what you mentioned is the reward rather than the task. For example, if my kids clean up their rooms and get ready for bed on time, they get to read in bed for a half hour before lights out. When they were younger, we would read to them if they were ready in time. That way reading isn't the chore but, rather, the reward.

Generally, kids like to learn. Making learning into something you "have" to do to get a prize should be used sparingly. Your kid is young enough that you can still create an atmosphere in your home where learning is a fun privilege, not a chore. Don't push too hard. If you regularly read to her, she should naturally take an interest in things like alphabets and writing when she's cognitively ready. And if you then take an interest in her, praising her and celebrating with her as she learns, she shouldn't need many other rewards.
Thank you, Jack. I appreciate your perspective and I believe that you are on to something.

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Three years old is early to expect reading.

I am concerned that if you expect all of this from a three year old, and she can't do it, or can't do it well, that she will become frustrated and get an anti-learning complex.

So I encourage you, if you must proceed with this program, to make it positive and fun and light hearted.

Also I encourage you to have time when she can do what she wants, unless it is sinful, for example watching "Berenstain Bears." Children are not robots, they need down time and time to develop their own interests and time to relax in their own way. If you do not let them have that, they can become nervous, unhappy, and sort of crippled, by this I mean they don't develop as independent thinkers and don't feel confident to develop their gifts and explore their interests.

Please give her permission to fail. If you do not, she will probably get to the point where she is afraid to try.

You are her parent, and you are the right parent for her. Tending towards legalism is part of your personality, so as long as you are aware of it, she may just need to realize that lists, goals, stickers on a sheet and regimented time are part of who you are. Since she is your daughter, it may well end up being part of who she is, too.

But it is good, I think, to tell her if you are aware of a weakness. Something like, "I want to practice catechism with you every day, because it is so important for you learn, but I want you to understand that God loves you and I love you whether you recite it perfectly or not." I really think you need to make statements like this regularly if your tendency is to be legalistic. It would be good for you as well as her.

Finally, I encourage you to have her share her interests (maybe she'd like to fly a kite. Maybe she wants to go to the zoo. Maybe she wants to visit an ice cream parlor, play a game with you). Try to do something she wants to do every day, and try to enjoy it, even if there is no gold sticker for it afterwards!
Thank you also for your advice. I will try to incorporate what you have said with Jack. Thanks again.

In Christ,
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Most of these thing you want her to learn are things she's going to learn in the natural progress of time. Reading, writing, the alphabet... no brainers there. Then you throw in the Greek alphabet.
Ok... what kind of timeline are you on?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I think the only thing we've ever been so desperate to finally occur that we've bribed our kids is potty training. :lol: Our five year old is *finally* potty trained. I warned him that he wouldn't be allowed to turn 5 because five year olds don't wear pullups. I don't think he really understood that I had no control over that but that added a bit of motivation.

In all seriousness, generally speaking, if you get excited when your kids commit things to memory then pleasing Mom and Dad is typically enough reward for kids. The hardest thing with little kids if fixing their attention but they're pretty good at sponging up information if you're consistently diligent with them. I think you need to be reading the Word to the kids every evening and praying with them so that they hear you confessing your sins and praying for their conversion. Of course, that prayer is real and it's something you need to be asking God for. But that process of training is important to because little ones need to learn the discipline of sitting still and listening. That trains them not only for educational training but for being good hearers of the Word and committing things to memory.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Without answering your question, a couple of comments.

1. When I researched the multiple languages at home when my daughter was young, the consensus was that the best way to keep from confusing the child was if one parent used one language, and one the other.

2.
eating everything that is set before her,
A really poor idea.

3. Watch for the propaganda embedded in the cartoons - Caillou is particularly agenda-driven.
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think a lot of it depends on how it is done. Teaching a child can be a bonding experience or something they resent you for (if there is a lot of pressure). A few things to be careful about:

1. Be okay with her forgetting. If you teach her the Greek alphabet at age three, chances are, she won't remember it at age 5 (unless you keep reviewing it, in which case you would probably eventually struggle to have time for other more pertinent education). That doesn't mean you shouldn't teach it to her if it is fun for her and for you. But that's just a fact. Do you have any memories of being 3? Neither will she.

2. Make sure that it isn't driven by "look how much my kid knows" ideas. It may turn out that she doesn't want to learn Greek. It may turn out that she'd rather play soccer. It may turn out that she has dyslexia and doesn't learn to read until she is nine. That's life, so don't set these as absolutes. Kids have a way of turning out unexpected ways. Even if your daughter loves learning Korean letters, your son might turn out to refuse to sit still for it, and so a system worked out with one child might fail utterly with another.

But, as someone noted on this thread already, kids like to learn, generally speaking, as long as they also have some downtime. I bought some happy face rubber stamps with ink pads and a giant sheet of posterboard. Each time the child completed a learning task, they could stamp the posterboard, and when they completed twenty stamps, they got a prize. They loved that.

Sometimes learning in more creative ways is fun, too. I introduced my children to a little Korean writing (it's the easiest language in the world to read, so not really a big deal), but I don't expect them to remember it six months later. They will remember something about other languages and how symbols are used in formation of words, and that is a useful concept. But I also helped them sew Korean hanboks, and we ate some bulgogi and discussed Chusok. There's more to Korea than Hangul. Larger concepts stick more than details like what letter makes an 'm' sound, in my opinion. So just some ideas.

Egyptian hieroglyphs are more fun for kids to learn and also serve the purpose of helping them grasp phonics, so you might consider that. I'd just use the basic alphabet, though. Ancient Egyptian writing quickly balloons into a level of complexity beyond what a small child can reasonably grasp. But they love the little owls and snakes and so on.

But everything on your list is highly achievable for most three year olds, and if your daughter enjoys matching sounds with letters and so on, then why not? And I do think looking at various language systems helps to develop a better understanding of phonetics in general. But still, she is only three, so keep that in mind with your expectations. Maybe a reward system will have her reading by the time she is four and a half, but maybe not.

PS I realized after I wrote the above that you are in Korea, so I realized that perhaps the focus on reading was more of necessity in both languages than just exploration of culture. So disregard if that is the case. My point is just that I think larger concepts are sometimes more intriguing for children than rote recitation (although that is necessary also). Learning is more fun for them when it is activity based rather than strictly memory based, especially at the age of three.
 
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Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I'd like to second the statement that making her eat everything that is set before her is a bad idea.

It's not a sin to not care for one food or the other. Put your energy into fighting sin, not preferences.

Also, maybe it makes her sick. It was not until she was 8 that we learned that my daughter is severely, and I mean severely, lactose intolerant. I thank God we never made her eat dairy foods or drink milk.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Our daughter is three, and knowing that she has pleased us pleases her greatly. We do simple praise for the basic rote learning of numbers, letters, colors, shapes, catechism, etc. We do a reward system for potty training and for learning to mitigate some of her sensory processing disorder behaviors. Praise motivates her to initiate helping put away groceries and laundry, to feed the cats, put away her toys, etc.

As a mom with a child currently in a feeding clinic for weeks at a time two hours from home, I'm not in support of the "eat everything" idea. There can be an expectation to try things, to be grateful for what is provided, not to expect a restaurant menu selection, etc. at home, though. I'm also biased---my allergy to citrus was discovered via a preschool "everybody must eat this" setting.
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Most of these thing you want her to learn are things she's going to learn in the natural progress of time. Reading, writing, the alphabet... no brainers there. Then you throw in the Greek alphabet.
Ok... what kind of timeline are you on?
Hey Ben, as for the alphabet stuff, I wrote out the English, Korean, and Greek alphabet on separate pages within a notebook. We would like to add more as time goes on and we learn more too. I have been singing them to her since she was born. At other times, I sing the French alphabet, seeing that when she watches stuff online (ie. Caillou) I tend to turn on French versions. That is in case we go back to Canada and will have to learn French. I will have to take Hebrew next year, so I thought that I would learn a song and incorporate that as well (maybe I'm selfish). My lovely wife was thinking about Japanese. We are a multicultural family, so our daughter will learn two languages, so my thinking is that we can introduce her to several in the hopes that she learns some.

We are not on any timeline. I do not expect her to be reading at this point, nor do I want to pressure her into thinking that she ought to be any time soon. I am an "English teacher" (my qualifications are that I speak English as my native language:um:), so I understand about pressure and limitations. I am not saying that I understand everything about pressure and limitation, just that I have experience with it in the classroom.

I'll appreciate your advice.

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the only thing we've ever been so desperate to finally occur that we've bribed our kids is potty training. :lol: Our five year old is *finally* potty trained. I warned him that he wouldn't be allowed to turn 5 because five year olds don't wear pullups. I don't think he really understood that I had no control over that but that added a bit of motivation.

In all seriousness, generally speaking, if you get excited when your kids commit things to memory then pleasing Mom and Dad is typically enough reward for kids. The hardest thing with little kids if fixing their attention but they're pretty good at sponging up information if you're consistently diligent with them. I think you need to be reading the Word to the kids every evening and praying with them so that they hear you confessing your sins and praying for their conversion. Of course, that prayer is real and it's something you need to be asking God for. But that process of training is important to because little ones need to learn the discipline of sitting still and listening. That trains them not only for educational training but for being good hearers of the Word and committing things to memory.
Agreed. Good advice. As for potty training, we have transitioned rather well, but there was a brief period that we wondered, but it has worked out. "We" have some mistakes ever now and then, but over all she is doing well. What I am finding now is that she is becoming so independent in this area (as with others) I am beginning to miss those opportunities to "help". I guess having a little boy on the way will help relieve those heartaches, along with adding some minor headaches...
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Without answering your question, a couple of comments.

1. When I researched the multiple languages at home when my daughter was young, the consensus was that the best way to keep from confusing the child was if one parent used one language, and one the other.

2.
eating everything that is set before her,
A really poor idea.

3. Watch for the propaganda embedded in the cartoons - Caillou is particularly agenda-driven.
Thank you, Edward.

1. Generally we do exactly that you have suggested. My Korean is poor, so my lovely wife fills that spot. I speak English, obviously, but when it comes to shows, we let her watch English, Korean, or French. The Greek (or anything later on) is nothing more than the alphabet, which she knows. I may introduce vocabulary words, but I have not gotten around to that yet.

2. Maybe that was a poor choice of words by me. I do not mean that she has to eat everything always, but that when we are eating as a family, she must sit with us and eat whatever she can - having the two of us to balance out the idea of when enough is enough.

3. I agree. Caillou has been fading out. Personally, I cannot stand the show. So, I am often times switching that to French in order that she is learning something besides Caillou's selfishness. I am open to suggestions for new show ideas. We do not own a TV, so whatever she watches will have to be by way of computer.

Thanks again, Sir.

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
I think a lot of it depends on how it is done. Teaching a child can be a bonding experience or something they resent you for (if there is a lot of pressure). A few things to be careful about:

1. Be okay with her forgetting. If you teach her the Greek alphabet at age three, chances are, she won't remember it at age 5 (unless you keep reviewing it, in which case you would probably eventually struggle to have time for other more pertinent education). That doesn't mean you shouldn't teach it to her if it is fun for her and for you. But that's just a fact. Do you have any memories of being 3? Neither will she.

2. Make sure that it isn't driven by "look how much my kid knows" ideas. It may turn out that she doesn't want to learn Greek. It may turn out that she'd rather play soccer. It may turn out that she has dyslexia and doesn't learn to read until she is nine. That's life, so don't set these as absolutes. Kids have a way of turning out unexpected ways. Even if your daughter loves learning Korean letters, your son might turn out to refuse to sit still for it, and so a system worked out with one child might fail utterly with another.

But, as someone noted on this thread already, kids like to learn, generally speaking, as long as they also have some downtime. I bought some happy face rubber stamps with ink pads and a giant sheet of posterboard. Each time the child completed a learning task, they could stamp the posterboard, and when they completed twenty stamps, they got a prize. They loved that.

Sometimes learning in more creative ways is fun, too. I introduced my children to a little Korean writing (it's the easiest language in the world to read, so not really a big deal), but I don't expect them to remember it six months later. They will remember something about other languages and how symbols are used in formation of words, and that is a useful concept. But I also helped them sew Korean hanboks, and we ate some bulgogi and discussed Chusok. There's more to Korea than Hangul. Larger concepts stick more than details like what letter makes an 'm' sound, in my opinion. So just some ideas.

Egyptian hieroglyphs are more fun for kids to learn and also serve the purpose of helping them grasp phonics, so you might consider that. I'd just use the basic alphabet, though. Ancient Egyptian writing quickly balloons into a level of complexity beyond what a small child can reasonably grasp. But they love the little owls and snakes and so on.

But everything on your list is highly achievable for most three year olds, and if your daughter enjoys matching sounds with letters and so on, then why not? And I do think looking at various language systems helps to develop a better understanding of phonetics in general. But still, she is only three, so keep that in mind with your expectations. Maybe a reward system will have her reading by the time she is four and a half, but maybe not.

PS I realized after I wrote the above that you are in Korea, so I realized that perhaps the focus on reading was more of necessity in both languages than just exploration of culture. So disregard if that is the case. My point is just that I think larger concepts are sometimes more intriguing for children than rote recitation (although that is necessary also). Learning is more fun for them when it is activity based rather than strictly memory based, especially at the age of three.
Thank you very much, Caroline. You are right. And yes, we do live in Korea, so it is necessary to some extent, but probably not to the extent that I am aiming. I will take your ideas into consideration. She starts kindergarten in two weeks, which I am not entirely in favor of, but I told her if she does not like it, "Papa will save you."

Thanks.

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
I'd like to second the statement that making her eat everything that is set before her is a bad idea.

It's not a sin to not care for one food or the other. Put your energy into fighting sin, not preferences.

Also, maybe it makes her sick. It was not until she was 8 that we learned that my daughter is severely, and I mean severely, lactose intolerant. I thank God we never made her eat dairy foods or drink milk.
Yeah, I just explained that. I don't want to come across as a North Korean dictator. If she does not like something, we do not make her eat it, just because "it is in front of her". I am talking about her wanting to take a bite and then run around the house for an hour before having another bite.

Thanks though for a heads up.

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Our daughter is three, and knowing that she has pleased us pleases her greatly. We do simple praise for the basic rote learning of numbers, letters, colors, shapes, catechism, etc. We do a reward system for potty training and for learning to mitigate some of her sensory processing disorder behaviors. Praise motivates her to initiate helping put away groceries and laundry, to feed the cats, put away her toys, etc.

As a mom with a child currently in a feeding clinic for weeks at a time two hours from home, I'm not in support of the "eat everything" idea. There can be an expectation to try things, to be grateful for what is provided, not to expect a restaurant menu selection, etc. at home, though. I'm also biased---my allergy to citrus was discovered via a preschool "everybody must eat this" setting.
Again, thank you. I understand. I will admit that we are trying to teach appreciation for what "mama" cooks and God provides, but this does not dictate that she must eat it all. Two days ago, she made her own soup! Some of you moms may cringe, but we gave her a knife and she cut up some vegetables. Halfway through she was tired and wanted to give up. We used that opportunity to teach her that "mama" does that day in and day out; therefore it would be good to remember that when "mama" puts food before us. She got a second wind and finished her soup, which turned out great - with "mama's" added touch and she ate what we gave her - along with her own soup. Although it took her an hour to eat, she sat (somewhat restlessly) and finished everything. She was quite happy to show "papa"! "Papa, I'm all done!" "That's my girl!"

In Christ,
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
I have debated using a reward system for catechism memorization since reading Candychism on the Heidelblog.
I will consider that when she is older, but for now, I just read it as she sits on my lap. She really enjoys that time, even when she is tired, because she just turns around and holds "papa". Sometimes there are ants in her pants, but I let her have a pencil and paper so that she can doddle and that helps. We did the "kids catechism?", which only had 50 questions, but she remembered a lot of it, but I felt that it was not as beneficial as the "shorter". We tried the "longer"...for a day...but I think that was too much for me! The only experience I have with catechism is with my daughter, so everything we do, we are learning together. It's great!

Thanks for the article.

In Christ,
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
I must say that I smile to see your devotion to your daughter. Father-daughter bonds are very special. As long as teaching isn't taken to a wild extreme (and it does not sound as though it is), I think it builds relationships. Introducing children to a variety of things in life is generally a good experience for them. I read Shakespeare to my daughter, starting when she was ten. She is a little deaf and struggles with vocabulary and some people said I was nuts, but she loves Shakespeare now. When you and your child find a common interest that you bond over, it is a wonderful thing.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
When my daughter was in a "Caillou" phase years ago I had daydreams of having "SPANK CAILLOU" made into a bumper sticker for my car :lol:. I let her watch it, though.
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
When my daughter was in a "Caillou" phase years ago I had daydreams of having "SPANK CAILLOU" made into a bumper sticker for my car :lol:. I let her watch it, though.
There are two versions of Caillou. The ones with him in a white shirt, with puppets on the show, are the most annoying. Caillou is really whiny and disobedient. But the newer shows with Caillou in a yellow shirt and without the puppets are often much better. It shows the family happily working as a team instead of glorifying whiny kids. We have Netflix, and I refuse to let my son watch the older Caillou shows. They are awful!
 

xirtam

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for your help. I have decided not to proceed with a reward system for my child(ren). That does not mean that I will not reward her/him, but that I will do so accordingly with praises and affirmations, rather than with points and agitation. Treats and rewards will continue as they have since birth, plentiful and undeserved - much like - Salvation. :rolleyes:

Thanks again.

In Christ,
 
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