A couple weeks ago I implemented a new plan. Money! Who isn't motivated by money? It took my two-year old a week or so to catch on, but she's finally figured out that money buys things! And That's Exciting!
Here's what I did.
First I found a template for some play money online, I printed off a few sheets and wrote in the amounts each color of money was worth....I made copies of the smaller bills so I had more for little good things.
Then I made each child a simple paper wallet and let them cover them in stickers. I hang the wallets on the fridge where it's safe from thieving.
Then I made a trip to the dollar store and found bunches of rewards. I have everything from a gift certificate for an ice cream date (the most expensive) to crafts, sunglasses, ice cups, squirt guns, glow sticks and candy. Lots of fun things, those little eyes just light up when I pull down the bucket.
They are given money every time they do something nice or to help me. How much they get depends on how well they did the job, how many times I had to ask, and the amount of whining and crying I had to endure.
For example: $50 is rewarded if they clean the playroom, by themselves, without whining, and without me having to pester them. (it's only happened once with each child so far)
I'm also able to use it as a form of consequence. I make them pay each other anytime they are mean or abusive to their siblings.
And... they can also pay me to get out of chores. So last night when my daughter didn't want to clean up her toys, she paid me money to do it for her.
Each item in the basket costs a different amount of money, and it's all labeled so Daddy can participate too. They work hard and save their money all week an each Friday I pull the bucket down and they are allowed to pick their rewards.
So far it's working quite well. My two-year old likes the expensive items, but she also likes to help a lot more than my 4-year old who seems to be content with a dum-dum and a small toy.