How to use iRewardChart to teach your children good habits

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A few weeks ago I came across the post "iRewardChart - Reward Yourself and Your Kids" written by Carolyn Nicander Mohr about an application called iRewardChart, for rewarding children using stars.Being the Dad of two boys (there is something so different and difficult about raising boys compared to girls) who is a serious fan of apps, it really caught my attention. A few minutes later I had it installed and was checking it out on my iPad.

irewardchart the happy children
 
First get your children excited and let them make the decision to use iRewardChart
I then invited my kids to have a look at iRewardChart  and asked them to tell me what they think about the application. This is one trick I learnt from the book Influence - Science and Practise by Robert Cialdini. When people willingly make public commitments, they are more likely to stick to their promises. So I didn't tell my kids that we were going to use the reward system. Instead, I asked them to tell me what they think and they made the decision that its a good application and we should use it. Clever, right?

The next step was to tweak the application to suit our needs. Some of the default settings got me in trouble from the very beginning. When my kids saw that a trip to Disney land was only 500 stars, they immediately started convincing me that we should leave that form of reward. Of course I couldn't agree because going to Disneyland from the place where we live every time my children got 500 stars would ruin me financially.
 
Let your kids help you with the configuration
So the first thing we did was to remove all rewards and tasks that did not fit our circumstances. We then added everything that came to our minds regarding both tasks and rewards.
 
Don't forget to start with baby steps
Over the next few days I paid close attention to what my children didn't do properly or didn't do at all and added those to the application. For example, when I noticed that my sons were not reading as often as I wanted them to, I introduced stars for reading. The first few days passed as usual. My kids would forget:

But that's to be expected because building good habits is a slow process. You start slowly and gather momentum as you go. So I forgave my kids' little sins over those first few days.

    • to do their beds in the morning, irewardchart children overview
    • to tidy their toys and clothes,
    • to their homework,
    • to read their books,
    • to brush their teeth regularly,
    • etc.
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Progress report after 3 weeks

After the third week I noticed remarkable changes. 

  • Every morning my kids would do their beds, 
  • put away their pyjamas, read a book, 
  • go to bed on time and so on. 
  • If one of them forgot something, the other one would remind him and vice versa. That's less work and less problems for me. And that's also because some of the rewards require them to put their stars together, which encourages teamwork.

 

How to configure and use iRewardChart

  • The configuration and use of this application is very easy. All you have to do is decide what activities you are going to be rewarding your children for. 
  • Add those tasks and decide how many stars  you will be awarding for each completed tasks depending on importance. For example, you could award 5 stars for excellent results in school work or one star for reading or, in our case, 200 stars for sleeping over at granny's. Remember not to overdo the granny idea because granny has already done her job raising you and deserves a rest from little noisy humans beings.
  • The next step is my children's favourite. When your children have collected enough points, iRewardChart gives you the option to pay them out. They choose what they want to get in exchange for the stars. The first thing my kids chose was going to the movies. They didn't have enough stars for that, so like I said, I took it easy at the beginning and took them to the movies on credit just to help them gather momentum by showing them that there are tangible results for good behaviour and hard work.
  • iRewardChart takes care of all the records like total number of stars, stars paid out, balance, stars this week, stars last week, etc. No need for you to do any counting or record keeping
  • iRewardChart  even allows you to share your children's achievements with granny, for example, via email, Twitter or Facebook. Isn't that sweet?
  • this app is available on iPad/iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 

irewardchart the stars

What I think could be improved in iRewardChart

  • Research in psychology has proved that people are likely to take action and change their ways when they stand to lose something than when they are supposed to gain something. For example, if people are told that they will live 5 years longer if they stop smoking they are less likely to stop than when they are told that they will die 5 years earlier. I think the results of the research could be applied to the way iRewardChart works. If the children are given a certain number of stars at the beginning of the week and then made to do their best not to lose them, I believe they would work harder and better results would be achieved. Defending what you already have is more motivating than trying to gain something of equal value. But that's just my opinion. 
  • iRewardChart doesn't seem to have any way to reverse or correct the payout process in case of a mistake. Could it be that I just have to dig a little deeper to find that feature?
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A happy Dad's conclusion

Althought, I haven't been using iRewardChart for very long, I am already very happy with the results. It seems to be doing the job much better than other methods I tried earlier such as threats, punishments or the stern face that I am known for in the family. One interesting thing I have noticed is that my six year old son's love for reading has improved dramatically. He can read books that his elder brother could not read at the age of 7 and he loves it. So do I.
 
What methods or applications are you using to teach your children good habits?  You are not a parent you say? No problem. Just let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

 

Enjoy the iRewardChart demo video below.

irewardchart video demo
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