Mommy Tickets to Encourage Helpfulness

Here is how the scene plays out:

“Hey Buddy, can you go grab the babies’ bottles out of the other room?”

“Ugh, I was just in there, do I have to?

“Yes, it would be really helpful.”

“But, Mom…”

“Can you please just do what I’ve asked?”

“Why do I always have to do it?”

…And so the cycle of negotiation/impatience begins!

To preface, I am fully aware (and biased) that my older boys (six and four) are actually shockingly helpful and capable. Going from two to four kids within three months and having two babies from there on out has placed high expectations on the oldest children and they have truly exceeded them. Still, it was too often that I was having to ask multiple times for a simple task to be completed or times when their arguments became defiant and what should have been a 30 second task turned into 30 minutes of tantrum and the accompanying discipline and heart-maintenance.

I was sick of it.

It was repetitive and a flat out waste of time.Mommy Ticket

But not anymore! Mommy Tickets to the rescue! They’ve truly saved a bit of my breath and sanity. Much like my favorite five minute freebies or the 20-minute rule, these have injected a fresh energy into our day to day. Hallelujah!

Here’s how they work:

Rather than the scene written out above playing endlessly on repeat, now I say, “For a mommy ticket, can someone please…” and the result is nearly immediate assistance! They complete the task and I hand over a ticket. Simple as that.

Then, they save their tickets which can be redeemed for special rewards at varying price points. For example, 15 tickets = staying up 15 minutes later at bedtime to play an extra board game OR 30 tickets = time to cuddle together with a hot chocolate and bonus show. The reward possibilities are endless (a treat, a date with mom or date, a movie or trip to the bounce house, etc.) We wanted to primarily offer extra/focused time with Mom and Dad (obviously in addition to the time we normally spend with them)!

The added benefit is that it continues to teach saving/spending and the idea of cost/benefit analysis, that each ticket can only be earned and spent once and you want the most bang for your buck!

Mommy Tickets could be used for any number of reasons. Maybe your child is struggling to listen and obey or a pokey child needs extra encouragement to complete a task more quickly. Maybe you are working to implement the habit of chores and its being met with resistance, these could offer some initial encouragement to be weaned off of later. Or maybe YOU find it hard to hop of the productivity train and designate intentional play time with your children; they will enjoy earning them and cashing them in will actually be your prompt to slow down for a few minutes!

In our case, I implemented this system as I began noticing just how frequently I asked the boys for little things here and there. And that spurred two thoughts, 1.) It is not their ”problem” that we have a lot of babies right now; and while I genuinely believe their life circumstances will teach them responsibility from a young age and (prayerfully) make them highly capable adults, I do not want them to feel any age-inappropriate weight or burden. 2.) I also want them to continue to love (and not resent) their siblings. There are many times they help their baby brother and sister without being asked, or they help when asked but not for reward. But when I ask them to go out of their way, I want them to be reminded that these babies aren’t a drag, but rather an opportunity to help and earn praise along with some pretty fun times!

Our children do have chores they are responsible to complete because that is part of life and part of being a family; we all need to contribute! They are also learning to do larger scale chores to earn actual money to “Give/Save/Spend” (which they LOVE).

But Mommy Tickets are different

Mommy Tickets are for those random little occurrences that don’t constitute an immediate reward, but do add up quickly and for which I want them to know I recognize and am grateful for their efforts!

Do you use a reward system? What has worked for your family?


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