Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trying Something New

We have followed the same chore schedule for about a year now. It has worked well for us. The kids don't flip over their chore cards anymore, they know them by heart and we just have a rhythm to how it all works.

But lately, I sensed my three needed a little boost. I wanted something that made chores happen quickly each morning, without me reminding them to get it done. I wanted them to get a little excited, and help them see there is blessing in work and obedience. So, now we have marbles.

In the Back to School 2009 issue of Family Fun Magazine, I read a great article about chore rewards called, "A Fistful of Dad Dollars," where the kids had dad dollars waiting for them each morning on the counter if everything was completed by a certain time. And the most recent issue of Family Fun offered another creative way to handle chore boredom using jars of marbles. So, I married the two ideas. While I liked the dad dollar idea (you print real looking money with dad's face in the middle), I knew the boys would not keep track of slips of paper.

How it works for us:
Do your daily chores and receive marbles. Their morning chores have to be completed by a certain time to receive the marbles (I give them a 30 minute warning to help my non-clock readers). Also, good table manners at dinner can earn you a couple marbles. I don't take marbles out of their jars for any reason. Discipline issues are completely separate. My hope is to keep this light and fun, not burdensome.

With morning/evening chores and table manners each of them can earn up to six marbles, and sometimes more. When Will told me today that he matched all the white socks that were piled on my bed (seemingly just for fun), I happily blessed him with a couple extra marbles.

The kids then get to spend their marbles on some fun privileges. Here are a few examples... and most are divisible by 3 - in case they want to pull together to buy something...
  • a late night reading pass (extra reading time in bed) - 10 marbles
  • 30 minutes of screen time (computer or tv) - 12 marbles
  • a trip to the playground/hike of your choice - 15 marbles
  • treat at the pool snack bar - 15 marbles
  • after dinner bike ride - 18 marbles
  • out for ice cream - 30 marbles
We are only a few weeks into this and they love it. I am always thinking of things they can do to earn a marble or spend marbles... and they are, too.


  1. What a great idea! I'll try to remember this about 10 years from now. :) I think I need my own jar of marbles!

  2. DOING THIS!!! And I so needed this idea TODAY. How weary I become of the same old "chores" I have to do day in and day out and how while I so love my life and my calling, can grow tired of chore A needing to be done for the 100th time in the same day. So why do I think my children are exempt from this? They too need a little motivation ... just something new and they LOVE marbles, so GREAT, GREAT idea! Thank you!!



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