Keepers of The Home
Posted: May 28, 2022
Author: Danielle Murphy
Colossians 3:23-24, New International Version
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
It dawned on me the other day that I am not very good at rewarding my children for good behavior. I will commend them with my mouth occasionally, but more often than not, my children are more aware of my disapproval of their actions than my joy in what they are doing right. It was with this in mind that I recently implemented what we have come to call “punch cards” for each child.
Many of us are familiar with the rewards cards that some businesses have in order to reward their frequent customers. Many coffee shops and other stores offer you a rewards card that will get a hole punch in it with every purchase above a certain amount that can eventually be cashed in for a reward such as a free coffee. This in essence was the idea I was borrowing off of to use as incentive for our children.
With so many small children in our household in such a short amount of time, I am ashamed to admit that my husband and I have found ourselves in survival mode. It takes so much of our energy each day just to keep up and maintain the basics, that we have gotten away from teaching our children a lot of habits that are important to us. For example, our three year old boy often stares blankly when a stranger approaches him and attempts to shake his hand to introduce himself. Our older boys fail to hold the doors open for their sisters and I when we are out, and our little ones are quite rowdy at the dinner table even though we have tried so hard to focus on training them with better habits.
These habits and more are what I would like us to focus on, so I created what we call a manners and etiquette punch card for each child. We then went over ways that they could earn a “punch”. As much as I would like them to use manners towards each other, and plan on rewarding them for doing so; we decided that our biggest focus would be on working on our conversation and etiquette towards those not in our household. Another area of focus for us was follow through and initiative in the home. There are many small areas that the children neglect when doing their chores, in spite of my constant instruction to do otherwise, so they now had an opportunity to earn a punch when they would follow through and work with excellence. For this cause I created a second rewards card for each child entitled household initiative.
It has been fun to hear them use these words and be excited to earn rewards. We are now five days into the punch cards and all of them have nearly filled them. The rewards will range anywhere from your own gum or treat at the store, to a little extra spending cash, or a purchase of a movie of your choice. It has been fun to mimic our Heavenly Father’s heart in rewarding our children for obedience and good behavior; may you be inspired to do likewise in your own household.