I have read and heard many different messages on the whole rewards system. To reward the child for doing what they are supposed to be doing, or NOT to reward the child for something they are supposed to do - THAT is the question.
Of course because some messages were from certain teachers which I liked everything else they said, or they were popular authors/speakers among some of the women I most highly respect and admire, I would follow what their suggestions were.
And depending on what teacher I was into at the time, would determine pretty much what we did. But we have kept a few basic things that we like:
(1) We encourage the children to do their work as unto the Lord - just as if the Lord Himself had asked them and not Mommy or Daddy. We also encourage them NOT to seek our praise for the work they do. We want them to know that there is a heavenly reward and an earthly reward, and encourage them to desire the heavenly reward.
More on that in a moment.
(2) We don't do allowance. I know that sounds bad to some. We believe that a child should not be paid for something they are required to do. When they grow up and leave home, they will have to know how to cook and clean and do laundry, and no one will pay them for it. It will be part of their responsibility in caring for themselves (and prayerfully someday, a family).
More on that in a moment too. :)
But I had to think about it. I am training my daughters to be keepers at home. And while they will not get paid for it, and the rewards are much greater than anything on this earth... it is nice to be given thanks. It is nice to be appreciated. And those are things I want my daughters to learn too - thankfulness and appreciation. Not that we will always get it. And when we don't, we still need to work as unto the Lord. But I want them to learn how to show thankfulness and appreciation for others.
So my brilliant beloved came up with a WONDERFUL idea! When the children exhibit a character trait that we truly appreciate (like being exceptionally kind or did a fantabulous job on their chores, or are the only ones NOT whining), he gives them a penny.
Please notice, in following with our above seeking a heavenly reward, we do not want to praise our children so much for the works that they do, but the diligence they showed in doing it, or the cheerfulness they had while doing it. We feel that it is so much more important to praise virtues than works.
Sometimes their work is not the best, but they TRIED their best. They were diligent and persevered while working on their handwriting for school. We want to encourage them to keep doing their best because then their work WILL look nice and neat and respectable.
We found a old gumball machine at a garage sale. My marvelous beloved talked her down to TWO DOLLARS! So they are allowed to take their penny, and put it in the gumball machine and out pops the candy of the month. Sometimes it is M&M's (peanut of course, gotta get SOMETHING healthy in there) or jellybeans or Skittles. Sometimes, if they have exemplified Christ all day they will get like three or four pennies. They LOVE plunking in penny after penny!
It doesn't happen everyday. Sometimes days go by and no one is getting pennies. That let's us know we need to work harder on character issues. The kids have not come to expect it. It i sporadic and random and the girls love it! It is just another way we show appreciation and thankfulness for the character growth and development of our children.
So instead of allowance, how do our kids get money? I will post on that tomorrow! :)