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Confession: I Pay My Kids to Make Good Choices and Play Candyland

My artistic duplication of Candyland. (I know, I should be drawing for a living.)

We have an ongoing game of Candyland over here at our house. Except it’s not the board game where you pick the only strategically bent card, which is the ice cream cone, and then win the game. This one is on our fridge and there is money involved.

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I saw something similar hanging in a friend’s house and made up my own version.

It’s magic. I’m telling you, it’s just as good as the “Jar Game” that we play when we need to get things done or when kids are bored. Sometimes, resorting to gimmicks is just the thing to help kids change a behavior or get excited to help. I love this Candyland game because it’s a positive approach to getting kids to make good choices. I’ll do anything to bypass yelling and threats!

Here’s how we play Candyland at our house.

It’s easy. Too easy. I think that’s why I like it so much. The kids move spots for making a good choice or helping or listening or whatever Mommy deems worthy.

For example:

Me: “Whoever can get their pajamas on and teeth brushed in 5 minutes and be in bed gets moved TWO spots!”

Kids: “WHOA! TWO SPOTS?” They typically get to move up one spot, so two is like BIG TIME!

Me: “Whoever would like to help me empty the dishwasher gets to move a spot.” OR “Thanks for listening the first time and doing what I asked, I’ll move you a spot for that!” OR “If you don’t mind helping your sister out, I’ll move you a spot!”

You get the idea. I ask them, they choose if they want to do it or not (and 99% of the time they choose to do it, because they’re competitive and wouldn’t dare let their sibling get ahead in the game.) I move them a spot and they get that much closer to “Reward.”

Now, obviously, the reward could be whatever. We’re money people over here. I like to reward with money, because as adults that is how we are rewarded and motivated. I want them to be prepared to work hard if they want something. So, reward at our house is the “Money Jar.”

It’s one of the bribes I mentioned here, but it is really simple. We have a giant jar of change that we’ve been growing for awhile. Any loose change goes in it. When the kids reach “Reward,” they get to stick their ONE hand in the jar and grab as many coins as they can. Sometimes they get more quarters than nickels and can end up with $9.00. It’s the luck of the draw. That’s how they earn money around here. If they want to buy something and need more money, they usually come to me asking if I can move them a spot for this or that. Hey, if a kid comes to me wanting to work and earn money, I’ll let them! They think the money jar is fun and exciting, so it works over here.

I can’t tell you how many times Candyland has saved my bacon when we’re in a hurry or I need the house picked up. I LOVE it!

All you need is a drawing and a game piece. You can tell I’m very artistic, and I take my time with these kinds of things! Ha! (Pinterest would be so disappointed!) Oh-well, this works wonders in our house and maybe it will in yours too!

 

Read more from Mandy at mush.

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Read More on Kid Scoop:

12 Outdoor Toys that Won’t Break the Bank

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13 Things that Make Me Proud to be a Parent

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