Memory Makers; the reward system that helps your family make memories together. Rather than rewarding kids with actual money or more things they don’t need, use this system to create memories that will last! The key to this positive reward system is that children are rewarded randomly for listening the first time, having good attitudes, serving without being asked, and willingly helping out.
I developed this functional system for our family to motivate more positive behavior within our home. My kids don’t need more stuff, they need me and more time together as a family. Memory Makers provides that opportunity as kids are randomly rewarded with fake dollars for good behavior. When they collect $20, they get to be in charge of a family activity to make a memory together. I offer a list of choices, but sometimes they come up with their own. Activities suggested are: roller skating rink, bowling, movie theater, ice-skating, trampoline park, a special dinner out, or shakes for the family.
It is essential that clear guidelines and expectations are presented before implementation. I recommend having a special family night to present Memory Makers. During that time you can teach and review guidelines, role play, and let the kids decorate their jar to collect the Memory Makers. It is not necessary to use fake money, you could use pom pom balls or other manipulatives. The main idea is to collect a certain amount, and then make the memory together. Let the children know how they can earn the Memory Makers, and communicate clearly that they do not get a reward every time they do a good behavior. They may go days without a reward, and that’s ok. It’s important to always be trying our best, because the reward will be random. Also teach the importance of being happy for a sibling when they get a reward. The rewards benefit the entire family, so it’s important to cheer each other on.
Some parents have been worried that only one child will take the lead and always get to pick the activity. What’s so great about Memory Makers is that as parents you know your childrens’ temperaments and you can adjust this positive reward system accordingly to fit your family dynamic. One child may need extra encouragement to get going, and may be rewarded for something small just to get the momentum. While another child may take off and perform multiple great behaviors. You do not reward for every good behavior, which eliminates competition.
As a busy mom of four children, my goal was to create a realistic system that would boost the moral in our home but didn’t need micromanaging. Many times reward systems can turn into something parents are a slave to. Memory Makers is not meant to be that type of reward system, which is why it is crucial to present the expectations and guidelines beforehand. Let the children know there may be days when no one gets a reward, even though they were making good choices. Teach the importance of good choices, even when no one is watching. We can always be rewarded with a good feeling inside when we make good choices!