A Game where Everyone Wins (especially YOU) – How To Nurture a Positive Home Environment

A Game where Everyone Wins (especially YOU) – How To Nurture a Positive Home Environment

Keeping a positive atmosphere – especially in the midst of an incredibly stressful situation like, say, weeks of social isolation – is essential. And this idea, from the guy who literally wrote the book on Essentialism makes it possible for parents to cultivate the behaviors they want to see!

Greg McKeown’s Family Star Chart

I love this concept for families because it’s a game where everyone wins. You can watch a 3 min video from Greg McKeown (author of Essentialism) below or here if the video doesn’t embed properly.

Basic premise:

Parents award stars for behaviors they want to encourage.

  • Anyone can earn a star and it goes toward a collective family reward once the chart is full.
  • Stars can’t be taken away.
  • Our House Rule variation: Siblings can point out behaviors they think are star-worthy (but not for themselves).

Everyone focuses on the positive, everyone gets rewarded!

Materials needed:

  • paper and marker
  • a ‘prize’ you decide on as a family in advance

We decided that 50 would be a good place to start (though my 7 yo initially suggested 300!). My 9 year old helped me figure out how to divide the paper and we left the last few blocks open to write in the prize.

We haven’t decided on the first prize yet, so we started a list of everyone’s ideas. Our first brainstorm includes these prizes:

  • pulling my old Nintendo out of the attic and play as a family
  • going to a local sweets place (Donut Distillery has drive-thru!)
  • heading to a drive-in movie
  • renting a movie at home (the kids are lobbying hard for a Disney+ subscription)

What I’ve Noticed

The kids immediately started bragging on themselves for good deeds, hence the “you can brag on someone else but you can’t brag on yourself for a star.” Joe offered a star in return for cooperation last night, but I stood against it – I think this will work best when we ‘catch’ them in the act – not when we barter or trade for good behavior.

I’m interested to hear if you have a system like this in your home and how it’s going. Let me know in the comments below!

What to use this technique to target a changing specific behavior?

Do it! Here’s a fb post I made after talking with the husband of my friend, Gail! I was halfway through my last pregnancy and needed the boys (then 4 and 2yo) to stay. in. their. room. at bedtime. Note – I used to worry about overdoing food rewards. Not so much anymore!

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