We had been struggling to find a way to motivate my 9 year old son. And discovered that he was eager to earn money to get what he wanted without having to get permission from Mom and Dad. So we created this money chart. Our therapist suggested it, and I love it.
I adapt it often to reflect what we are currently working on. And as he masters each thing, we reduce the amount of money he will earn for that item. Eventually I will phase those items out, but if he wants to work on them again I add them back in.
The money chart is a simple spreadsheet with the days of the week down the vertical left column, and the items we are working on across the top. I also list how much each item is worth at the top. We laminate the spreadsheet, and use a dry erase marker to daily take stock of how we are doing.
We include Dad in the process because Dad’s approval matters a LOT. We praise him for every accomplishment and note the failures without dwelling on them. We want to focus on the positive with this chart. It’s not supposed to make him feel bad for failing, simply serve as a reminder of what we are trying to get better at. And to reward him when he succeeds.
I have included a printable version for you at the end of the article, if you aren’t crazy about making your own spreadsheets like I am. (I know, it’s a sickness. But I love making spreadsheets!) Here is a sample of what I have been talking about, just so you can follow along. It includes sample goals, and examples of how much you could assign to each. It’s a flexible and living document, so adjust it as you need.
Let’s take a look at the Money Chart. There is a column at the far right side of the chart that is key to maintaining it’s success. The “What did I buy?” is not only important for your memory (and budget), but it will also make this more interesting. As my son finds and buys what he likes, he’s accomplishing a goal. Boys love accomplishing goals.
As you can see I highlighted some of the squares in yellow. It makes it easier to see the days we need to focus on that goal. And for those things that we don’t need to focus on every day, I highlight the day in green to blend it in. Anything that makes it easier to navigate.
As my son has gotten used to the idea, he has started suggesting things he wants to work on. It is so exciting for him to catch the vision of goals and how he can master them. It makes the spreadsheet a little crowded, but I love it. The goals are a lot easier to accomplish when he catches the vision and has a vested interest in it’s success.
Good luck with your goals, and with motivating your children. I hope this helps. Parents can use as many tools as they can get.
This article was previously published on Abby’s blog at Patheos.com
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that this isn't a bad thing. And you or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.