- 👨👩👧👦 Start with a family meeting.
- 🐣 Start small.
- ⭐️ Add Tasks and Tune over time.
- No points? No Privilege.
- Keep it fun and keep your kids engaged.
Communication is key - sit down with your family and explain to your kids that you are starting a point earning program and explain to them what the tasks and privileges are and how the system will work. This is a great time to create or re-visit some house rules, and maybe discuss penalties for breaking the rules.
If you choose the right privileges, you can start out with just one or two. Choose things that your kids really want to do, but should be limited. The more they want to do a privilege, the more incentive there will be to complete tasks and earn the points.
Screen time is an excellent starting point. We all know screen time should be limited, so place a value on watching TV, playing video games, or playing with a phone or tablet.
Also, consider starting with just a few tasks - keep it simple and try to balance the points earned and the effort of doing tasks with the cost of privileges. Not all tasks need to be big. And not all tasks even need to be 'tasks', meaning that good behaviors could earn points too. Small things like clearing your place or saying 'may I please' or 'thank you' can be worth a point or two. Things like unloading the dishwasher or mowing the lawn take longer and require more effort so should be worth more points.
It takes some time to try things out and adjust point values and build a list of tasks. Don't rush it. Tune in to what your kids are capable of and what you want to encourage or discourage.
Are your kids not doing some tasks you want them to do? Maybe a higher point value will add the encouragment needed.
Has your child done all the tasks and is looking for more points? This is a great time to add some new chores around the house to get them more engaged. Maybe it's time to push them a bit and offer a high-reward task for something they've never helped with before.
Ultimately more tasks = more control for your kids = happier kids. If they have a large menu of tasks to choose from and can plan how they make points, it gives them real incentive to help around the house. More importantly, this will give your kids a feeling of being in control and feeling good about what they do.
No doubt you know what it's like when kids are asking "Can I do this?" and "Can I do that?" and you find yourself saying "No" over and over or arguing about it. Privilege Points gives you a way to stop saying "No" to your kids and start saying "Yes, as soon as you have earned enough points".
Be firm, but be fair and consistent. Your kids will never use the system if you don't hold the line and maintain that you can't have privileges without earning points first. There will no doubt be an adjustment period if this is the first time you are using a point system, but this will pass quickly if there is enough incentive to earn points. Kids will figure out how to get what they want, and if earning points is the only way they can earn a privilege, then that is what they will do.
While it is important to maintain a 'no points, no privilege' rule, it is also important to recognize your child's efforts even when they fall short. It's ok to bend the rules here and there to keep them engaged and keep them motivated to keep doing their chores.
For example, if a task was not finished on time, that's still better than not getting it finished at all. Maybe you can give them the points this time with an explanation that next time they'll need to get it done on time. As another example, maybe the kids need a little extra game or TV time on a rainy day. Create a 'bonus points' task and award them a rainy day bonus - or surprise your kids by giving them some bonus points just because. They can spend the points how they like, but when they have been spent, it's time to start earning points again.