When my daughters were little we used a sticker chart for motivation. We put a nice new sticker under their name each time they picked up their toys, or when they spoke up to adults instead of freezing in shyness. Surprisingly, this worked well for quite a while. They were happy to do something a little difficult to earn a special sticker. One time at a Christmas party they went around hand in hand to each table. They said "Hi" to everyone. (Most of the guests were retired couples living in our downtown apartment building and they were thrilled to be approached by two little girls in their Christmas finery.) The girls spoke to so many people that we filled up their whole page with stickers. They were so proud of themselves. We were proud of them too.
Fast forward to today. Now they are teenagers.(Well one is 12 but that's close enough!) In the age of i-pods, i-pads and I-everything, a simple sticky piece of paper with a princess on it doesn't quite do it. I was in a quandary. How do I motivate them to practice piano, work on extra algebra problems or do their chores on time? Nagging didn't work, that frustrated all of us.... and nothing was accomplished by asking nicely. I decided to implement Sticker Chart 2.011 (it's the updated version). I can't say it's working perfectly. There are still a few bugs I'm trying to fix, but we are headed in the right direction. Of course we don't use stickers and it's not posted on the refrigerator. They helped me design the new system. We made a simple spread sheet with all the items they need to complete in a week and I award points if they are done. At the end of the week, if they have enough points we can all go out to a movie, go out to dinner, or do some other family friendly activity. They also have the option to save their points, and use them instead on a family vacation of their choosing. There is one catch, we made up 10 levels. Each level requires more work to earn points than the last. For example 1/2 hour of piano practice earns 10 points in the 1st level but you need 45 minutes in the 2nd level to earn 10 points. Here's where sibling rivalry comes in handy. They want to beat each other to the highest level. We've had this in place now for 3 weeks and they are already accomplishing more than before. With no nagging! YEAH! Hopefully our progress will continue. Now I just need to motivate myself to work on those sit-ups.