FREE Children's Values Reward Chart
Today, I'm sharing with you a project that AJ and I started working on in our home this past year. It has blessed our family so much and has worked out so well for our children. We hope it will help your family as well! This project is our children's values reward chart.
Last year, before all the chaos was heightened around us, AJ and I were on a date and of course the topic of our children came up. We started talking about stories, our children's happenings, where they were in their growth, and values we wanted to instill in them as they grow. We discussed how we wanted them to be emotionally intelligent human beings living in and contributing to the world. We know their potential to do so much good for the world, we see it every day in our home, and we wanted them to see that for themselves. The challenge is how to instill that into our children. Children whom we love, but who also drive us and each other crazy. We wanted to be intentional with our parenting efforts without simply forcing them to be good because mom and dad said so.
Our kiddos really respond to positive reinforcement and especially love tangible rewards, so we came up with a values reward chart that covers the most important values to us. When we first introduced the chart to Boston (6) and Audrey (4), we told them that we wanted to help them be the best human beings they could be, and that begins with learning and working together as a family. As a family, we set a goal to work on being confident with who we are, more kind to others, and following the example of our savior, Jesus Christ, so many of our values are based on these core beliefs.
We are firm believers in the power of our mind. What we think manifests into action, positive or negative, e.g. either acting on impulse and whacking our siblings when we are upset, or training ourselves to breathe and count to 4 before responding when we are upset. It starts with the mind and then practice. So we first taught them to think about what these values mean and how it can look in everyday life, and having them envision themselves doing it, which would lead them to actually doing it. It all starts with an intentional mind, yes, even for children. Give them some credit!
We asked them what prize they would like at the end of 6 weeks of doing the chart, whether it be going for a one-on-one date with Mom or Dad, or picking out a new toy (totally worth it, trust me). Then, we printed out a picture of the prize and put them right near the chart by the dinner table to remind them of their goal. Throughout the day we reference the chart to help our children see how they are behaving. For example, respecting people's space is a value we have, so when one child is tormenting another, we can ask if they are respecting their sibling's space. Kids are smart, and they typically know the answer. Sometimes we have to cut through the complaints of why they did it, but ultimately we are able to remind them to think about how they're acting.
Another value we have on the chart is trying new things. This value is important to both me and AJ because we feel strongly that we are on this earth to grow, and the only way we can grow is by saying, "yes" when new opportunities come our way. We want our kiddos to get out of their comfort zones and give new experiences--food, activities, people--a fair shot. Sometimes, it's hard to say, "just try it," to children that young because it seems like torture to them. There's not much of a return on investment for them. But the rewards chart gives us some leverage, so they realize and are conscious of the fact that they are the ones who get to make the choice.
Each night before bed, A.J. or I go through the chart with the children and have them place stickers on the values they practiced that day. It's been a great experience to spend time with them and listen to them articulate their stories from that day. I try to get them talking and explaining why different happenings deserve certain stickers for values. And if things didn't go so well that day (because we all have our rough days), I encourage them to try to focus on working on that value the next day and I ask especially Boston for some examples of things he could do to especially work on that value. Then, I try to remind him in the morning or check in with him mid-day to see how he's doing. Yes, it is a lot of follow-up, just like my job as an IT project manager (haha), but it is so worth it to me because I know this will help them become conscientious and reflective people.
And really that's the point. It isn't for them to complete every task every day like a chore chart. Being a good person and sharing that goodness shouldn't be a chore. We want them to be mindful that they are the ones who choose how they behave and understand that each choice has its own consequence. So we encourage our kids to achieve these values each day, but really we're looking for something like 75% completion of the chart to earn the ultimate prize.
I have loved how both of us AND our children have referred to this rewards chart each day since implementing it. So often, I hear Boston say, "I said the prayer today, so I'm going to put a sticker on my chart," or "I'm going to try out this [new food] so I can get a sticker for my chart." And I love hearing the stories from these kiddos. I love having something that gets them talking and excited to share with us about their victories and kind acts of the day. This chart really has worked for our family.
Of course, you can tweak this chart to cater to your families, because we all work a little differently. I'm attaching both an Excel and PDF file for you, and the Excel is editable (Just download and switch out the values. I'd love to see how it goes for you, and how you tweak it to make it your own. Let me know which values you've added to yours?? We'd love suggestions!