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3 Tried and Tested Reward and Discipline Programs with Children

Updated on March 27, 2014

So what are the 3 remedies?

  1. The Kitchen Timer - A tool that you can use to give direction and time for yourself or time for your child to do a specific duty.
  2. The Reward Basket - A tool that you make with small items that your child can purchase from after they have earned money by doing good deeds.
  3. The Yellow Bucket - A bucket, basket or bin that stays up in the closet and when items are left out by your child, these items go into the bucket for a week. They do not get them back until the weekly review of why they are in the bucket in the first place.

Supplies on a Dime

After you read a few of my hubs, you will realize that I always look for the least expensive option when it comes to buying anything! Consider your second hand store first to find a yellow bucket, basket for your reward program and a ticking timer. Then check out your Dollar store for items in quantity to fill your reward basket. They usually also have a wide variety of yellow pails and boxes. My suggestion is simple. These programs do not have to cost you a lot to implement, just a little time.

Raising Children & Keeping it all Together

As a working mother, one of my biggest challenges was how to make it through the day without raising my voice in frustration due to time constraints. Let's face it. Many of us would love to stay home with our children, pick them up from school at 3:00 p.m., have their healthy snack ready and then spend quality time with them working side-by-side with them while they do their homework. the real world. When you have to have a 9 to 5 job, it isn't all that easy. Everything is a rush, so the kids are picked up by a daycare facility after school, or enrolled in an after school program, while you are busting your buns to make some money to provide for the family. After a long day at work, you have to rush to pick up the kids, head home to make a quick dinner and then....well, you see where I am going with this and I just bet you can relate. I was lucky enough to have a very organized and sensible mother who was able to give me some great ideas when raising my children that really saved me time and frustration and now I am going to share those ideas with you. I promise you that they work, so give them a try.

The Kitchen Timer

A fabulous tool that you will never be without and will probably pass onto your kids when they have kids.
A fabulous tool that you will never be without and will probably pass onto your kids when they have kids.

How to Use a Kitchen Timer to Gain Time

You get home from work, the back packs go flying, you kick off your high heels and *Sigh, thinking to yourself....oh boy I have no idea what to make for dinner. While little Jennie yells "Mom, I need cupcakes tomorrow for class." and here we go. The mad rush evening run. Here is the quick remedy, tried, tested and it works! You purchase a kitchen timer, the wind-up kind that ticks and dings when the time is up.

Here is how you are going to use your timer:

  • When you get home from work, you set the timer for 10 minutes. Leave it in the kitchen and tell your children that you need 10 minutes of mommy time to do your thing. What is your thing? Well, getting dinner together, making a quick list for tomorrow, changing your clothes, throwing a load of laundry in. Whatever it is, you need this time. So, the kids run off and start their homework or possibly clean their room. They are not to interrupt you during this time. There is the solution.
  • Let's say your son is slow at waking and getting out of bed in the morning. Then when you finally pry him out of bed, he takes 20 minutes to brush his teeth and get dressed. My grandson was doing just this. When he was spending the night I said to his mom, "Let's fix this problem." Here is a kitchen timer, I want you to set it for 10 minutes. Caleb has 10 minutes to get up, dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and shoes on. Four tasks. If he does this all week before the timer goes off, then he will get an ice cream cone on Friday. Done! Guess what? Mom asked if she could take the timer home with her because it worked out so well.
  • I have passed on this idea to so many moms that I have had to re-buy kitchen timers for myself at least five times. Because it works!

Now I am sure that you can think of many other ways to use your timer and by all means, please do. It is a tool that isn't going to hurt anyone, it is not going to create friction it is a form of organization and believe me, the kids feel self gratification because they would rather have direction than to be yelled at by mom and dad.

Buy the Right Kitchen Timer

Lux Classic Timer, White
Lux Classic Timer, White

Be sure and get the old style timer that makes the ticking noise and rings.


The Yellow Bucket or Bin

It can be a bin, a box, or a pail.
It can be a bin, a box, or a pail.

The Yellow Bucket

School Smart Storage Box with Lid, 11 x 6 x 16 Inches, Plastic, Yellow
School Smart Storage Box with Lid, 11 x 6 x 16 Inches, Plastic, Yellow

Toss the lid as the idea is to have an open bucket for quick viewing of items that have been taking away temporarily.


How to use the Yellow Bucket to Keep the House Clean

Vision this. It is Wednesday morning and you wake up at 6:00 a.m. before everyone else so that you can get your day started with your morning coffee and a few thoughts about what you need to do before you get out of the house to drop your kids off at school. You walk upstairs and what is the first thing you see? A ball on the floor, a puzzle in pieces on the coffee table, two socks scattered in the kitchen. No, No, No. If you continue to let your children leave their items wherever they want, then you are going to continue picking them up so that you can see a clean house. Rewind. Let's go back and do this a different way. On Tuesday night, the kids are ready to head to bed. You say to them, "Jennie and Jack, pick up your things on the way to your room or you might lose them." Well, what does that mean? Lose them? This is where the yellow bucket comes in to play. In your hall closet, where you hang your coats, on the top shelf is a yellow bucket. If your children leave their items out and about, you simply pick them up and put them in the bucket. They do not get them back for a week. This is a very effective program, especially when that item is a piece of candy or possibly an electronic game because boy oh boy, they don't want to lose those for a week.

Here is how the program works:

  1. Give instructions on how it is all going to work. You have a yellow bucket, if they don't pick up their things and you have to then the "things" are going in the yellow bucket. They will remain there for a week. On one day of the week (I suggest Friday night) then they can have them back. So, now it is up to them to pick up their things and no longer you who has to do it.
  2. Keep the system the same. Don't change out the colors of the bucket or the day of the week or anything else. Keep it simple and it will work! This teaches them responsibility and keeps all these little daunting tasks and irritations off of your back.

The Reward Basket

Made by you with love, to teach your children how to do good deeds on their own and get rewarded for it.
Made by you with love, to teach your children how to do good deeds on their own and get rewarded for it.

Choose Inexpensive Items

Pick items of interest and items that are of good daily use and don't cost and arm and a leg. An electronic game is not a good choice for the Reward Basket.
Pick items of interest and items that are of good daily use and don't cost and arm and a leg. An electronic game is not a good choice for the Reward Basket.

How to use the Reward Basket to Teach Your Kids to do Good Deeds

You ask your child, "Why can't you just feed your dog when the bowl is empty, he is hungry?" or "Why do I have to ask you over and over to take out the garbage when you know that this is your only chore for the week?"

Let's make this a little easier. Now, some agree and some disagree on the Reward Basket program. I am going to leave that one up to you but tell you how it did work in my household and why I just made one for my grandson.

So, here is how this works:

  1. You purchase colored star stickers. You place these stickers onto items and I will provide you with a good list of Reward Basket items.
  2. If you child does a good deed on their own, reward them with a dime or a quarter.
  3. Keep your Reward Basket in view but not touchable. On top of the refrigerator is a great choice.
  4. Announce your new program at dinner and explain to your children that they can earn money to purchase items from the Reward Basket by doing good deeds on their own. Now, they can't just spend all night trying to smooze mom and dad to get money, these good deeds need to be something they choose to do on their own and mom and dad happen to notice them because they are paying attention. This teaches your child to be a good helper, a good citizen and this my friends will teach them to be the grown up you had hoped they would become. You can even involve the grandparents and other family to take notice of these good deeds and at your next dinner, announce that you heard from someone that they did something good today. What a feel good for your child and they should get rewarded for it.
  5. After a good deed is done, you give them some change to purchase something from the Reward Basket. You want to have items in there that start as low as the lowest star value and items that are more expensive as well so they can learn about saving. This is another bonus! They can save their change to purchase one of the more expensive items in the reward Basket.
  6. Be sure to make your announcements lively and fun for your child. This is what is going to teach them that doing good things for others will pay off in the long run. If they do this for years and years to come, how can they forget when they are adults? We hope they won't.

When it comes to filling up your Reward Basket with goodies try to think about spending $5.00 to make the project. Here is how I did it.

  • I purchased a basket for $.50 cents at a second hand store.
  • I peeked around my house for little things here and there that I could put in the bucket, like a pack of fruit chews, a new pencil, etc.
  • After that, then consider your local store clearance sections for smaller items. Try to not star your items over $3 or so, as you want this program to be simple for your child to understand.

Reward and Discipline Solutions

Which is your favorite home solution?

See results

Rewarding and Discipline Take Time

There is no doubt that it takes time to implement a new program in your home but think of it this way. The hour that you spent developing and announcing this new program is going to save you countless hours of frustration over the years. I consider that to be well worth the effort!

The Gift of a Home Remedy

Every single baby shower I go to it seems they have that piece of paper asking for words of advice. Okay, I got this. The Kitchen Timer is always my suggestion. Why not just buy a Kitchen Timer, print this Hub and give it as a baby shower gift! I know they will appreciate it. Another way you can help someone else is to make the Reward Basket as a holiday gift for a close family or your children who have children. Again, print the Hub so they understand the program and you will surely see a lot of smiles in appreciation for the easy remedies.


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