DUTY DOLLARS™

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Read below for the explanation of the program.  If you contact me I will send you a copy as soon as I have them!  This is a GREAT program that really works!

What Are Duty Dollars?

Duty Dollars is a simple, effective, and non-aggressive reward and discipline system for kids.  This is a system that I created for my household and would like to offer to you for free!  The key to the program is that kids can physically hold, give back, count and spend their duty dollars.  Instantly kids touch the value of making a good decision.  They also find out that making poor decisions will cost them hard earned dollars.  Duty Dollars clearly spells out the positive and negative consequences of decisions made.

Clear rules will need to be posted in your household so that everyone knows exactly what the expectations are for both earning and loosing Duty Dollars.  Spending guidelines also need to be set.  Kids will get excited about what they can save up their Duty Dollars on.  All guidelines can be amended as time goes on to adjust to your kids growing up or new problems that arise.

The great thing about this program for kids living in dual households is that the same system can be implemented in both homes.  The rules may vary, as well as the exact chores, but the basic guidelines would be the same.  This helps kids excel with an uninterrupted learning system that is established in both homes.

Rewarding children for completing chores has been a time honored tradition in most households and isn’t anything new.  You have to find what works the best for you and yours.  This may include options such as marbles in a glass jar or actual allowance.  I have found that this is the system that works best in our household and I hope it works well in yours too.

In order for you to utilize the Duty Dollar program we are giving you the actual dollars as well as charts to fill out for daily do list, chores, discipline, and rewards.  Print them off, make copies, and start your family on a fun new rewarding program.  If this system works for you please share with your family and friends – they will thank you!

Tips, Tricks, & Hints:

With any program that you put in place in your own home, customization is key.  What works for one may work better with a twist in another household.  My hope is to create a loose program with basic guidelines that is customizable for you and yours.   Below I will give you some ideas as to how I implemented it, see if it works for you!

  • The critical part of this program is physically handing out the dollars and collecting them back.   I really believe that the passing of something tangible is what makes this real for kids.  They receive Duty Dollars for good behavior, they loose for poor behavior, it’s simple and its works.
  • Figure out what a Duty Dollar is actually worth in cash.  It could be anywhere from $.10 – $1.00.  In our home we use $.50 and it works well.   The lower the actual dollar amount is, the more they can be traded back and forth reenforcing both good and bad behaviors.  It is also a quick way to teach kids simple math!  That way when your kids start saving up for something, they have to figure out what the price is in Duty Dollars.
  • Paying out children daily makes a HUGE difference to them.  They feel like they are getting rich quick.  Most allowance programs take a week before they are paid out.  A child’s attention span burns out way before the week is up.
  • Because you are paying out the kids daily be sure to put your “bank” money in a place that is easily accessible for you, yet out of the temptation of little hands.
  • Use this system to break bad habits.  I have one son that thinks eating boogers is a full time activity and another that feels that smacking improves the taste of his food.  For both of these bad behaviors they have to pay us dollars.  Amazing how quickly these habits have been over come!
  • Non-aggressive means no yelling or drama – that rule is for both children AND adults.  If a child makes a mistake, remind them of the charge and ask them to please go get it from their stash.  If they argue then the price goes up.  You are trying to navigate away from an altercation.  As they walk back and forth to retrieve the Duty Dollars it gives you both time and space to cool your jets.  Once the child returns with payment then you can talk about how they can avoid loosing the Dollars next time.  You will be surprised how quickly kids settle into this and you both reap the positive rewards.
  • Have your children come up with a hiding spot in their room for their duty dollars, a secret stash.  They love that part.
  • If you don’t have a colored printer you could print them off on colored paper or have your children color the Duty Dollars themselves.  Do whatever you can to make your kids love the system and feel part of it.
  • Laminating the lists and Duty Dollars does help on wear, however you can always print more.
  • Laminating the daily sheets and using dry erase board markers will reduce on going through a lot of paper, but can get smudgy.  We use daily sheets, but it is up to you.
  • Make a HUGE deal when you child has enough Duty Dollars saved that they can turn them in for a bigger bill.  They feel rich and it gives you another chance to say Great Job!
  • Spending limits.  I set a rule that no more than seventy five percent of their duty dollars can be spent on a purchase.  Why?  Because they have to bank some for poor behaviors.  This teaches them a valuable lesson early.  In life you always need some funds in reserve.
  • Once a month let the siblings pool their money together for a family outing.  It gets them to work together which is always nice to see.
  • In the beginning  our family started out with a payout for their AM chores and a separate payout for their evening chores.  Since they are older now, we have an all or nothing plan in place for both AM and PM.  When you start reward them often so they can get used to earning the dollars.  Once they are rolling in the dough you can start correcting behaviors by taking it back.
  • IOU’s (I Owe You) :  You may need them if a child really messes up and they don’t have a lot in their bank.  Some warning with these though.  Once a child hits this level they feel like it is going to take forever to get back out of the hole.  I would go out of my way to remind them of all of the things they can do to earn more dollars, even giving them extra chores to get back in the green.
  • Leaving dollars laying around.  If my kids leave their earned dollars on the counter or anywhere else, they loose them.  It teaches them responsibility and to pick up after themselves.  It also will alleviate arguments between siblings as to who they belong to!
  • Never back down.  That should go for all punishments.  If you say “That cost you $5 Duty Dollars when we get home.”  Make sure you collect on it.  If you make empty threats, they are just that, empty – and your kids know it.  As a good parent, you need to follow through on all punishments given – Duty Dollars or not.
  • “Give me ALL of your Duty Dollars!”  Is not an effective way to use this program.  Ask for an amount that is fitting of the behavior.  If they don’t have enough then hand them IOU’S, but never clear out your child’s banked Dollars regardless of how many they just because you are really angry.
  • When setting up a spending chart, know your child’s currency.  Maybe it isn’t money.  Maybe they have to pay $5 Duty Dollars for one hour of television.  Maybe they have to pay $3 for every 15 minutes on their electronic device of choice.  Make sure the dollars can trade into something that your kids REALLY want.