Kids will be kids! We spend a lot of time asking them to put their shoes on the boot rack, pick up and put away the games they have been playing with, put their garbage in the trash can... There are days when we feel like we are glorified babysitters! And so we launched the Star Bucks incentive program. We created simple little forms about the size of a business card (see photos). When we notice a child doing something good - like putting her shoes on the rack, or cleaning up after himself, we reward them with a Star Buck! When any child has collected five Star Bucks, they can then use them to "purchase" an entry for a prize draw. Puzzles, Lego, magic kits, books, games... fun stuff that kids will like. It didn't take long for the kids to catch on. We do not give them a Star Buck every time they do something good - just often enough for them to keep doing it. And we try to reward individual kids for doing different things. We did not advertise what kinds of things the kids needed to do to earn a Star Buck. We wanted the behaviors to come from them rather than be dictated by us. Once a few kids started receiving the Star Bucks, they quickly started "policing" their peers and encouraging them to follow suit. We had a few prizes to start out with, but we are now seeking donations from businesses to help sponsor the prizes. In exchange we offer public acknowledgement of the business and invite a representative from the business to present the prize. There is no set time between prize draws. Once there are a sufficient number of entries (about every 2 or 3 months) we hold the draw and make it a bit of an event. That way it is easier to coordinate with prize donors to be there.
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