After one of my kids was diagnosed with ADHD, we read several books in desperation to avoid medication. My favorite was "Taking Charge of ADHD, Third Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents", Written by Russell A. Barkley. In it, he describes a system for behavioral modification using "chips" as a reward for good behavior.
We used reward charts in the past, and they were effective. Integrating this system was not a problem. These charts used stars and smiley faces as the reward. The stars were then traded for cheap $1 toys in the "Mommy Store." I know what you're thinking, "what kind of Marxian economics are you running in your house?" This worked alright when they were little, but as do most socialist economies, ours too eventually failed when the kids realized stars and smiley faces wouldn't pay for Pokemon and Barbies in the real world.
With parents that work as a Financial Advisor and a Wealth Management Professional, it doesn't make sense that our kids (age 3&5) shouldn't learn how the real world works.
How it all began
That's when I made this:
With some glue, construction paper, a sharpie, some real money and the inability to spell quarter, our Cash Reward Chart was born. Now you see what it looks like when 2 MBA's put their heads together.
This was meant to be a little beyond their understanding. I didn't expect our 5-year-old to catch on as fast as he did. Nothing made me prouder than the 1st morning, he showed up downstairs and dressed demanding his compensation of $0.10. Nothing made him more satisfied as he explained to his sister that he bought her birthday present with his hard earned money.
To better validate the lessons of earning and counting real money, this happened....In the middle of his kindergarten year during a revaluation of his ADHD, the tester was impressed that he could do multiplication. Typically this level of math is taught in 2nd grade. When I looked at the results, I notice the correct answers were multiples of 1, 5, 10 and 25. I was happy for him, but we never taught him multiplication, he just knew how to count money.
We decided to work with one of our old charts and use real money in the place of the stars. After lots of glue, velcro and cursing, it made more sense to cut out pictures of coins and keep the paper flat next to his money jars. This method worked for the 1st week until someone moved the paper and knocked all the cutouts on the floor.
It just made sense to make a Chore Chart the right way. The way our chores are compensated in the real world..... with cash.