We bought and painted a treasure box from Hobby Lobby and filled it with exciting treats and prizes. During the week our children earned tickets and at the end of the week we allowed them to “purchase” things from the treasure box.
We decided not to take away tickets unless extreme misbehavior occurred. I didn’t want all their good hard work to be taken away in my anger or desperation for cooperation.
Filling the treasure box is a lot of fun! We try to have some small items for 20 or less tickets and some larger items that are highly desirable that the kids would have to save for. When we are at the store and the kids really want something, occasionally I’ll buy it but put it into the treasure box for them to earn. I love to check out the deal area in Target and Toys R’Us, and the dollar store. I also stock the box with things they are always needing, like new bands for their band looms, craft supplies, or batteries for their toys. I generally assign ticket cost by how much I paid for the item. We also created some “coupons” they could buy for special activities or services (dinner out with dad by themselves, staying up late, day free from piano practice, etc). For each dollar I spend the item costs about 50 tickets. We have had items in the past, like a scarf loom, that cost several hundred tickets, since its dollar cost to me was so high. It’s exciting to save for the treasured item and then to finally earn it.
On Saturdays we allow the kids to count out their tickets into groups of tens. We assist the younger ones, of course. Then we get down the treasure box and hold up each item and tell its price (25 tickets or 75 tickets). We allow the youngest to go first in choosing and item they want to buy. The other kids must wait quietly and not grab items or talk too much while we discuss the purchase and pay the tickets. After their purchase is complete, I announce in a loud voice “Ben is now the proud owner of ________” and then we all clap our hands and cheer! The turn moves to the next sibling. When all the siblings have bought something, the cycle can repeat if they still have tickets. We also encourage our kids to save some of their tickets towards bigger items as well.
I love that they get to work hard to save up for things that they want. I can get them things they want at the store, without giving it to them right away and setting up a cycle of unrealistic expectations that I’ll buy them whatever they want when they want it. I love the opportunity they have to learn about earning, saving, and trading for commodities that are important to them. Sometimes we take break from this reward system when they seem to tire of it and bring it back out after a month or two when they’re ready to start earning tickets again.