Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bribery and corruption – an ode to reward charts

As we currently undergo our house move and school move, it suddenly dawned on me again that I absolutely love Ellie’s reward chart and luckily for me, so does Ellie! Ellie loves it because she loves stickers and being told well done. I love it simply because it works. I can literally convince, otherwise known as bribe, my daughter to do things I ask her to and er…not do things I don’t want her too!

The reward chart is my loyal friend and life saver so this blog post is quite simply dedicated to our reward chart.

The chart we use does not state the reasons you get stickers – the advantage of which is that, so far, I’ve been able to keep the reasons for achievement of the stickers fairly flexible. Sneaky I know! I don’t have to decide up front what she’s going to get stickers for and we have just one constant: ‘getting ready for bed without any fuss, going to sleep without any fuss and not getting up too early’. (Yes that’s one!) Ellie is generally a good sleeper but as with any child she has phases of well…trying it on. Personally I’m a touch obsessed with the sleeping thing so I keep this one constant sticker to ward off any silly ideas she might get!

Other than that one thing, the flexibility of our chart means we can focus on certain things on certain days or weeks as the need arises such as eating your lunch at school, being a brave little girl at her new school, sharing nicely when friends are coming around etc. I can also get over excited about things sometimes and award her extras, such as learning her second set of key words for school which earned her an instant sticker!

I do think I made life a little harder for myself than was strictly necessary when I started the chart, as I enthusiastically said ‘when you get to the end of the row you’ll get a special prize’. That said, it’s only ever something from the kind of shop where things are 99p such as some new pens or crayons, stickers, hair bobbles etc. Literally anything I see in passing, within the right price range of up to £1 which I think she’ll like, I snaffle away in the cupboard. In hindsight I think I could have got away with just the achievement of stickers but…it’s too late now and an excited Ellie is worth a pound.

Ellie is just about perfect at walking the fine line between pushing her luck too much and getting away with it, at least where the reward chart is concerned. Ellie frequently now suggests things she might get stickers for, sometimes she does this in a very innocent way but occasionally, though not so often as to make it a problem which I have to address, it’s very clearly a ‘I’ll do that if…’ kind of a way. The latest development is that Ellie recently decided I should have a reward chart too and I’m currently waiting to see what she is hoping to bribe me to do…oh I mean, reward me for. I will of course, let you know.

And so to finish this blog post I simply have my mini ode to our reward chart:

Oh sticker chart, oh sticker chart, you’re my favourite mummy tool.
Ellie loves you too and thinks you’re really cool.

Sharing well, sleeping well and remembering to flush the loo
These are the things that earn those stickers, and tidying her room does too!

Oh sticker chart, oh sticker chart, without you I would be lost
All the things you can get Ellie to do, you’re really worth the cost.

As always please do get in touch either via comments below or via twitter. If you want to follow my more regular updates (although limited to 140 characters!) then please  do follow me on twitter.


  1. I am happy it works for you. It doesn't work for me unfortunately...of us...

  2. Oh I'm sorry to hear that Otilia - as always I guess different things work for different children. So far I've been lucky with Ellie and the reward chart stuff but I'm waiting for the day Ellie decides her reward chart isn't going to work...clueless about what I do then!
    thanks for your comment - be great to know if there's any alternatives that work!

  3. This was a really good read, i would love to share your post. Reward Charts this week is focused on Reward charts, I would absolutely love for you to link this post up The good life mum xx

    1. Thanks Helen - I've linky'd up!