A simple idea in college motivated a group of 17-21 year old women to earn top grades on campus, so I’m thinking this could really work for younger kids as a reward system or as extra inspiration in school work.
When I was the Scholarship Chair for my sorority in college, I cut up bunches of colorful strips of construction paper then I shared my plan. Anyone who got an A on a quiz, test or major paper could add their name to the A-Chain. Our goal was to have this paper chain grow along the stairway from the main floor to the third floor of our house by the end of the term. I couldn’t have anticipated the positive response. Everyone jumped on board excitedly, they proudly wrote their names and shared their successes with one another. We not only hit the top floor midway through the term, but we went all along the third floor hallway and headed down the back stairs! That year, our chapter was number one in grade point average; it was a rewarding achievement for us all.
It dawned on me that this could really work to motivate and reward kids, from toddler to teens. Here are a few ideas to use a paper chain in your family [this shows how to make paper chains with glue, I use staples or tape]:
You could write the child’s name on each strip along with a kind act they did or a chore they completed. Try color coding the strips by child and they can earn a strip whenever they listen the first time or put their shoes on by themselves. It could serve as a potty training tool and your toddler can pick out a link for going on the potty, perhaps a special patterned paper or one with stickers for poop. I can see this working with grades, practicing an instrument, cleaning bedrooms or just about anything a parent wants to focus on in their family.
Try to loop a chain around a kitchen counter, along a child’s bedroom ceiling, or from one end of the house to another. Get creative and if your kids are older, get them involved in choosing their colors, attaching their link to the chain or in deciding what earns them a link. A little external motivation that costs nothing but a bit of time can really pay off in results.
As parents, it’s always helpful to have new ideas for our tool bag, it seems that one reward system or motivational tool works for only so long, then it’s time to change things up. This is a fun alternative to a good ol’ sticker chart – and you could even use stickers on a link before adding it to the chain.
The paper chain reward is another way to help us look out for and see the good things our kids do. I need those reminders, especially when I fall into a pattern of harping on all the things they didn’t do.
You’re creative – share some ideas of how you could use this to motivate or reward your kids!