In our house one of the one biggest, best treats the kids can get is a trip to Chapters. It makes it even better if it is a one-on- one trip to Chapters. They love to wander the isles, looking for a book. I love watching the self important look on their faces as they march up to the cash. My kids are book lovers (a gift they did not acquire from their Daddy). I am very proud to say that the three big kids all read at the top level of their class. I would be so bold as to say that they read a full grade level above their grade. I am not sharing all of this to be boastful (well maybe just a little), but to explain how "Book Points" are our family's currency.
Years ago we tried the allowance system. We stunk. When I say we, I really mean Christopher and I, we would forget to give it, or they were too lazy to earn it and we did not get after them. It did not work for us. I accidently stumbled upon "book points". I told one of the kids that if they did a chore I would buy them a book. They were excited and the chore got done. From that point on we set up "book points".
The way it works is that when they get 5 points it equals one dollar towards a book. They get points if we ask them to do something, or if they do something nice without being asked. Two days ago Grace was upstairs for a long time. When she came down we asked what she had been doing, she had cleaned Elly's room for her! That earned Grace lot's of book points (50 to be exact or the equivalent of a $10.00 book). Usually we will say something like "anyone who helps to clean the living room will get 2 book points". Is it fool proof, nothing is, but for us it works (most of the time).
I made each the kids their own chart with their own favourite animal on the bottom to personalize it. Sometimes it makes them a little competitive when they see that someone has so many more points than them. Sometimes competitive is good.
Here is what I like about our system...
1. It fosters a love of reading. I believe that if a child is a good reader there's nothing they can't accomplish.
2. It teaches them how to work towards a concrete goal. They love to receive new books, to get new books they have to earn them.
3. I can't forget, because it's right there in black and white ( I have a terrible memory).
4. It is not only a treat for them but also for me. With 4 kids, I don't get the opportunity, nor do I often make enough effort to give them one - on - one time. Chapters usually is one - on - one time. On the drive there I get to hear their hopes and fears (most times), it allows me a slip into their inner circle. They can ask awkward questions, more comfortably (you know by awkward I'm talking the birds and the bees). I get to learn more about them both on the trip there, and at the book store. I learn more about their interests. I learn more about them.
5. Who am I kidding, if they get a book, usually I get a book!