The Best Chore Reward System for Positive Reinforcement

In our house, we use tickets as a chore reward system to help our kids learn what is expected of them as members of the family.

The premise is simple:  if you complete your chores and responsibilities for the week, you earn 5 tickets. If you go above and beyond by taking care of extra spaces in the home or by being a particularly wonderful person, you can earn additional tickets as a reward.

These tickets can then be exchanged throughout the week or saved for a heartier reward later on!

Image of woman and daughter with cleaning gloves on. Text says the only chore reward system you need

Base Pay for the Ticket Chore Reward System

We believe in teaching the kids that their chores are their responsibility, but that they should earn a “paycheck” (of sorts) for getting their work done.

Each child in our family has between 2-3 household chores depending on their age. For instance, my youngest is in charge of feeding the dog and my 6-year-old has to open and close all of the blinds. These are non-negotiable and must be completed every day.

Related: Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids of Every Age

For help in establishing these responsibilities in your home, there are some simple tricks to making chores work – no matter the age of your kids.

Each week, when the chores are completed, the kids earn 5 tickets. 

The tickets are typically handed out on Friday evening, so the children can use them as they wish throughout the weekend. Our weekly schedules keep us pretty busy, so the tickets serve their biggest purpose when free time abounds!

This “base pay” chore reward system helps the children to know that we believe their work is valuable. 

It also gives us the opportunity to directly demonstrate when a chore is not completed well. If the kids don’t do their chores, we will take away 1 ticket from their base pay. 

However, if we do take a ticket away and the child immediately goes and completes their chores, they can usually earn their ticket right back

Now, you’ll have to do what is right for your family, but we think it’s important that our kids have the chance to fix their mistakes whenever possible! 

Earning Tickets Beyond Base Pay

Sometimes, the kids can earn tickets beyond their “base pay” amounts.  There are two main opportunities for this:

#1 Doing Extra Chores

There are always extra chores to be done around the house, so the kids have lots of chances to earn those tickets!

If we spot them picking up a mess that we didn’t ask them to clean, then the outlook is good that they will be rewarded. 

The kids definitely can’t prompt Mom or Dad for a ticket, otherwise they’ll lose their chance to earn their reward! The tickets have to come from us catching them in the act.

Sometimes, when the messes are extra-large, the kids can agree to clean them up for extra tickets in advance. This might include cleaning up the weeds in the front yard or finding multiple bags worth of toys to donate to kids in need.

These chores don’t directly relate to the kids’ messes, but they are big projects that help the house!

Usually, we will give 1 extra ticket for an extra chore – but you know your family best. If your kids need a little extra prompting from the chore reward system to clean out that garage, do what you gotta do.

#2 Awesome Behavior

Another way that kids can earn in the ticket chore reward system is by showing awesome behavior!

We love to see our kids getting along – honestly, it’s the best part of having more than one, right?

So, when they are particularly kind or patient with one another, we like to reward them with an extra ticket.

(Bonus: When they both earn an extra ticket, it almost always brings a few extra minutes of happiness, as they bond over their shared luck!)

This is another great opportunity to reward changed behavior.

For example, say a child was having difficulty with their bedtime routineIf they worked really hard to change their attitude while transitioning to the nighttime rituals in the home, that would be a great place to earn tickets!

We also like to consider notes or messages home from school for this reward. If the teacher says our child has been working hard or had a really great week, awesome! Extra ticket for them!

Again, the only real rule is that they can’t ask for an extra ticket. If they do something absolutely wonderful and then turn around and ask to be rewarded, the chance for that extra ticket goes right out the window.

Cashing In the Chore Reward System Tickets

…and now for the very best part of the ticket chore reward system: cashing them in!

You can absolutely use whatever system works for you, but in our house, we like to keep it simple.

1 ticket:

  • 30 minutes of tech time
  • A sweet treat from the candy cupboard
  • $1.00

3 tickets:

  • Stay up for 1 extra hour
  • $3.00

5 tickets:

  • A trip to the treasure box
  • A sleepover in mom and dad’s room
  • $5.00

We like to have a direct option for the tickets to transfer to cash. That way, if the kids want to save up for a bigger item, they can actually see that the money they are saving has tangible value.

This helps to show them what they have earned, as well as how far they have to go to reach their goals.

Their work in the home has value that they can spend in whatever way they see fit. 

Wrapping Up the Ticket Chore Reward System

All in all, that’s how the ticket system works!

Each child in the house is assigned chores based on their skill set. When those chores are completed appropriately, the kids are paid their “base pay” of 5 tickets.

Throughout the week, they can earn additional tickets for doing extra work around the house or by showing exemplary behavior. 

At some point close to the weekend, the tickets can be exchanged for a variety of rewards. The kids are free to use up all their tickets throughout the weekend or they may be saved for another time.

We absolutely allow “leftover” tickets to be spent throughout the week, but that’s up to you!

The ticket chore reward system encourages hard work and provides children with many opportunities to learn responsibility. 

Here’s hoping you have the same results in your home!

About the Author

Katie Johansen is a teacher turned SAHM living down in South Florida with her two crazy kids and equally fun husband, Eric. She is always searching for that next slice of happy in between the pages of a good book or a deliciously-scented candle. More than anything, this busy mama loves all things organization, education, and celebration! You can find Katie on her blog TheMerryKate.com.

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