The Money Tree

I wish I could claim credit for this darling idea but I can't - I got it from my good friend and I have high hopes for it! Let me introduce to you, the Money Tree...

She originally had this light-bulb moment in attempting to motivate her kids to make their beds and have their rooms picked up before heading off to school. Each Sunday, seven one dollar bills get put on the money tree. If the bedrooms pass inspection for that day, the dollar stays on; if it does not pass inspection that day, a dollar is permanently removed. At the end of the week, the bills that remain get to be taken off and kept by the kiddos. Preston has been motivated to make his bed, brush his teeth and get dressed (the 1-2-3's) with the opportunity for getting a packet of Bunny Gummies in his lunch (in addition to his regular lunch treat) and that has worked for getting him into a morning routine. The money tree for us comes in to play with his work and behavior at school that has been slowly slipping (in part due to the Chernobyl Christmas Effect I'm sure - see last post). 

Amazingly, he has not had any missing assignments this year as he has been completing work in class (which is truly wondrous compared to the two-page long list of missing assignments he would bring home last year). His behavior has been starting to slip as well (that lovely impulsive factor characteristic of ADHD) and he has been struggling to stay focused and do his work (which with ADHD, I'm not totally sure how to get over that one period). But we're going to shoot for some improvement and we're going about it by means of the Money Tree - a real good motivator! I'm rigging his Money Tree as follows:

1. Sunday night of each week he will get seven one dollar bills put on his tree (I went to Michael's and got a bag full of baby clothes pins - the uber tiny ones - to pin the bills to the leaves).
2. He will keep the dollar for homework scoring 70% or better.
3. He will keep the dollar for appropriate behavior at home and in class (moderation in mind considering that he does not have complete control of his impulsive nature).
4. Weekends require that he remains time-out free to keep his dollar (one and two counts do count against him, only getting to three which means a time-out).
5. He gets to collect the remaining dollars on his tree Sunday night as new ones get put on the tree for the following week.
6. He has the choice to save up his money or we will go on a Mommy/Son date and he can choose where he gets to spend his money on Monday afternoon.

I know, I know - this sounds like a bribe and in a way I guess you could call it that. However, sometimes you have to find something that will really motivate your kiddo toward some positive change (no pun intended) and money, with the opportunity to spend it (we'll have to work on that as he gets older) is hugely motivating for him. He was very distraught when we first reviewed how the money tree worked as he was sure he couldn't get always get above 70% (I intentionally started low because he needs something realistic to start with and we will eventually increase to a 80% or B grade for dollar maintenance). I pulled out a stash of homework and spelling tests he brought home that had 100% grades on them and reassured him that he could get good grades on all of his work. I believe in him and he needs to know that.

I'll keep you posted on the success of this endeavor, but I think the money tree is a great idea all the way around as a daily reward/incentive system. If you end up using this for something you need to curb in your kiddo, please email me or post a comment so we can all benefit! Employ and enjoy!


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