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Poker Chips: The Sexier Sticker Chart

Poker Chips: The Sexier Sticker Chart

By Tracey Stewart

Last month my kid’s sass was on the rise. Normally in these moments I pull out my handy dandy sticker chart and reign everyone back in. This time however, I was hearing a lot of, “I don’t care about stickers!”, “Stickers don’t have any value to me!” Uh oh, they were growing up and becoming savvy to my manipulations. I was either going to have to figure out a way to convince them of the value of a scratch-n-sniff banana, or I was going to have to start from scratch.

But I was tired. And I didn’t feel like reading another parenting book. I needed something fast and easy that would get the job done. I decided to put a new spin on my old trick.

I presented both of my kids a glass mason jar, their names labeled on each. I then armed myself with a pile of poker chips. We sat at the table as a family and talked about what kinds of behaviors could earn them a chip. Then, with a full list of goals, I told them to decide on a reward they really wanted and, depending on how much the item cost, I would give it a value in poker chips.

The chips themselves provide tactile interest for the kids, and the loud clink they make every time one is added to the glass Mason adds to the overall allure of the pursuit.  While each rewarding clink provides reinforcement of desired behaviors, with her eye on the total high for a desired reward, a savvy tike can get a lot of bang for her buck.

As my kids’ collections grew, so did their earning power. And I got to watch them learn the value of decision-making. Good-bye stickers.

Here are some ways my kids have earned their chips:

  • Get dressed and brush your teeth in the morning without being asked
  • Play nicely with your brother/sister
  • Play nicely alone
  • Spend quality time with the dogs
  • Follow Mommy and Daddy’s directions right away without an argument
  • Speak respectfully to adults
  • Get ready for bed without complaint

We started the Chip Jar Program on the weekend so we could be there to immediately identify chip-worthy behavior. Now during the week we gather at night on the bed and the kids recite all the good things they have done that day. It is delicious. They are so excited about doing good, and they often add to the list of things that they thought were “chip worthy”.  This has brought about so many great conversations and, in the end, I now spend more time rewarding than reprimanding. Jack pot.

Find the goods here:
Poker Chips

Other Great Sticker Alternatives
Mini Plastic Babies

Posted in: Parenting   

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Recent Comments

Michelle said…

As a teacher, I use the marble jar extrinsic reward system as a behaviour management tool.  There’s something about the colourful glass spheres and (you’re right!) that CLINK -that really encourages a change in ‘tude.  Implement this system alongside the “filling your bucket” literature out there and you’re in a good attitude/ good behaviour utopia.  Good behaviour earns a marble for the class jar and a jar full of marbles means free choice time, a movie, going outside to play a few minutes before “actual recess” and other choice rewards.  Hopefully the marble earning loses its pizazz and the good behaviour becomes habitual.

Kerry Monnelly said…

Love this idea. Love Maggie!! She is getting so big!!

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