How to use iRewardChart to teach your children good habits
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.
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.
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,
- to tidy their toys and clothes,
- to their homework,
- to read their books,
- to brush their teeth regularly,
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
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?
A happy Dad's conclusion
Enjoy the iRewardChart demo video below.
More blog posts about applications for you to enjoy.