Motivating Reward System

Many children or adolescents spend their summer relaxing and using electronics until they smoke and spark. Unfortunately, this can result in them falling back on what they learned during the school year, and often it also results in incomplete chores, a dent in the couch or leaves them zombified as they are sucked into the electronic time warp. Yet, some teens neglect their responsibilities at home to spend all summer with friends or at the mall usually with the side effect of “Nintendo thumb” from all the texting, tweeting, and facebook posting.

By setting up a reward system to earn access to use the electronic privileges they are taking for granted as one of their human rights, you can motivate them to complete chores or learning activities. For example, you may ask your child to read for a half an hour or complete a math homework sheet before using any one electronic device. Or you could ask your child or teen to complete two simple chores like unloading the dish washer and sweeping the kitchen floor before they use the computer or the Wii. You want it to be age appropriate and these examples would typically be appropriate for a child age 7-10. You may require more work from an older child or teen.


  • Use poker tokens, marbles, bingo markers, etc to keep track of the educational or any needed tasks your child has completed.
  • Then they can turn tokens in to “unlock” one electronic device for only that day.
  • You can set a time limit for using this device if your child only uses one thing.
  • You can make reading or chore time as a minute for minute exchange with using electronics. For example, 60 min reading earns 60 min of time on their DS or Smart Phone.
  • Electronics are privileges, not birth rights. These include hand held game systems, game consoles, tablets, computers, smart phone or cell phones, music players, even television.
  • Get creative! You are the parent so you make the rules.