Momma Told Me: Forget The Colored Macaroni; A Handmade Gift From Kids You'll Fight Over, Inside!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Forget The Colored Macaroni; A Handmade Gift From Kids You'll Fight Over, Inside!

Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
Momma Told Me: If you won't do it because you want to, do it because you have to.

My childhood was filled with various rewards systems. Whether it was the $.50 allowance I began earning at 8, for assisting my father with washing his work vehicle, or the gold star stickers Mommas would layer onto the behavior chart in our pantry. As humans, we quickly learn that most positive behavior has a positive reward, whether that's a literal monetary output, as in a job, or the satisfaction and pride of a clean room, or knowing you've just helped another person. Telling a young child to merely 'behave' rarely works without threat of a negative consequence, or promise of a tempting reward. But, what if the sassy interpersonal coupons we exchange with Valentine's and husbands could be translated into kid-friendly incentives that double as gifts? My friends, homemade coupons are not just for romantic holidays and Mother's/Father's Day.
Use real coupons and money as reference for fake money and coupon gifts.
When I was a young girl there was an excess of Weebles (little Pom Pom characters with sticky feet) leftover from a failed fundraising attempt. Our third grade teacher decided to pass out some fun money in class in exchange for exceptional behavior and work as a teacher's aid. Ten fun money dollars equaled one Weeble; to this date, I'm certain I have never dotted my 'i's or crossed my 't's more! Recently Sabrina's teacher began passing out what she calls DuBois (the teacher's name) Dollars, which are good for leaving for recess early, home work passes, and more. Sabrina (11) has become real enthusiastic about doing extra tasks in class to help pick these up. On a whim, one weekend, I suggested we make our own 'Sabrina' Dollars.
Make a coupon template and photocopy it for easy coupon production.
Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
As a young girl who asked Santa for a complete 125+PC art kit this past holiday, Sabrina thrives on creative projects and has a strong sense of pride of showing off her artwork and creative skills. With her stepfather's birthday around the corner this got me thinking. Could we translate her creativity into a project that would be affordable, and meaningful as a gift from an 11 year-old? The answer was yes. When I brought up the idea of making homemade coupons to Sabrina, as a birthday gift for her step dad, her face lit up. Her own money and coupons?! "I've made coupons for my mom before," she reasoned the ideas originality. I was quick to come back with, "But how often do dads get their own coupons?" and that was the end of that conversation, we were off planning coupons.
Use a laminator or packing tape to 'seal' coupons for keepsakes and reuse.
Not only are homemade coupon gifts a great project to keep small hands occupied for a good period, but they are wonderful keepsakes to put in the scrapbook, and even better tools for building good behavior and workmanship. Consider behavioral issues your child struggles with and challenge them to make a coupon to correct the behavior for a specified period of time. For example, one tantrum free grocery trip, one sing free car ride (Sabrina), one school week in bed on time. Ordinarily, they don't sound like the most exciting tasks to your child, but the exchange of the coupon naturally acts as an incentive and point of pride to succeed in achieving the task! You can also have kids offer free hugs, kisses, tv remote time, special chores, slipper retrieval, and more.
Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
I helped Sabrina develop a template for her 'Sabrina Dollars' and homemade coupons. We chose several visual examples of coupons to inspire our template. I made Sabrina identify the different elements of a common coupon and put her own twist on them, ie; expiration date, bar-code, fine print. We photocopied her final 'money' and a coupon template that allowed for a custom coupon message, hand-drawn image, and write-in expiration date. When they were inked over and colored in we ran them through lamination sheets so they could be reused, or kept as a keepsake. If you don't have a home lamination, you can often seal coupons with masking tape placed seam to seam.

Of course we were sure to make an extra Sabrina dollar for Sabrina to give to her teacher. Mrs. DuBois was so tickled by the gesture of a student handing her their own currency she proudly uses it as a bookmark in class every day now!

What Daughter Says: Give children a free incentive to do good with homemade coupons for great behavior and chores.

18 comments:

  1. Cool idea, and good to use in the future.

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  2. What a fantastic idea. I love that she helped to make them herself. Sabrina Dollars - they really look good and I'm sure they are fun to earn!

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  3. What a great idea! My daughter loves to be creative and such a great way to have fun!

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  4. We did something similar when I was young, and I loved it! My sister and I even played banker with them. Ours would always get destroyed so quickly though; great idea to laminate them.

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  5. This is such a great idea. I will definitely do this with my daughter when she is older.

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  6. I think that this is a great idea. Especially a sing free car ride. I would do almost anything to keep "certain" people from singing in the car, lol.

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  7. I love this idea! And I love how they look with the laminate on them.

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  8. WOW - that is pretty awesome. It gives me all sorts of idea. now I have to figure out how to start implementing chores

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  9. great positive enforcement for your kids. Even better if they make up their own! RIght? Keep them busy!

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  10. My Sister did this with all her kids and it really worked out well.

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  11. This is a cute idea. Would be nice for Valentine's Day or a Birthday gift.

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  12. I love this idea for the kiddos. I planned on make some adult themed ones for my husband for Valentines Day ;)

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  13. That's such a great idea, I love it.

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  14. I think that this is a great idea and I shall [pass it on to my friends and children. It promotes creativity, giving and doing work too.

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  15. Great idea-wish my dogs could understand these. They would love a "skip bath today" one. :)

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  16. I like this idea and at the ages my grandchildren are they would feel they represent money! They like dollar bills!

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  17. What a fab idea, I definitely need to show this post to my boys.

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  18. Wow, what a fantastic and great idea and I love the handmade dollar. .

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