Paper Chain to Motivate and Reward Kids

motivate and reward kidsA 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 housereward and motivate kids 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!

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2012

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8 Responses to Paper Chain to Motivate and Reward Kids

  1. Keri says:

    Love this! And fondly remember the A chain! Can’t wait to use this for my kids!!

  2. Emily says:

    So timely to see this post because Asa won his class’ first paper link yesterday! His Pre-K class has a ‘good citizen chain’ which starts at the top of a classroom wall. Children earn a ‘link’ by being kind to one another, helping each other or helping a teacher without being asked. When a teacher sees a good citizen act, that child gets his name and the act written on the paper link and it’s attached to the chain. Once the chain touches the floor, the whole class gets to have a celebration of their choice. At the end of the year, the teacher will read out the children’s names and their good deeds. Asa was almost bursting out of his skin when I picked him up yesterday and he showed me that he had earned the first link for going back and cleaning up the dress-up area after all the other kids had moved on to another activity. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

    • ldecesare says:

      YAY, Asa! What a great feeling of pride! I love this for the school setting – and that exact way to use it could definitely be used by others at home! Thanks for sharing that!

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