Incentives: The Secret Sauce

Unknowns to Knowns – PART 4


Isn’t it amazing just how hard people will work, sacrifice, and train to run in a 5K/10K or a marathon, with the reward being a $10 tshirt, or medal, and of course, bragging rights? But they do! And, they know that if they don’t complete the race – they receive nothing.

Something I know to be true in my own experience is that if there is a reward out there for me for finishing something, and that prize is something that I really want, I will be laser-focused to get it. I will work through the pain, make the sacrifices, and get that t-shirt!

I created a daily routine system for my four children that I called the All Done Day plan. It was customized to each child, with age-appropriate tasks and was shaped by a filter of family goals that my husband and I had deemed important for each of our kids to learn and achieve. I incorporated an incentive component to the plan – and this is what caused this plan to actually work! I studied each of my kids and drew up a list of rewards that I was pretty sure they would enjoy if they worked for them. I had to be sure that these rewards were “gold.” They could not be things that I routinely offered them or that they could buy monetarily with their allowances. I created experiences or “reaches” that would get their attention.

I knew that one of my sons, the uber-social kid, loved time with friends, so the ability to have or attend a sleepover became an incentive for him. One of my daughters was gaga over horses, so an incentive for her was to work for a new collectible plastic horse. My husband traveled extensively for his work, and all of my four kids craved time with him, so the “Daddy Donut Date” became a very popular incentive.

If they completed their daily plan, it was considered an All Done Day and they would receive an All Done Day coupon which they could save up to “buy” a coveted incentive. Both my husband and I were amazed at how our kids were attacking their daily plans to be able to go on that “Daddy Donut Date” or that sleepover. THIS-THIS was the “secret sauce” to the success of the whole system.

The incentives that we came up with took a little bit of time and creativity on our part as parents, but I loved that I was studying each one and finding out more about who they were and what they liked. I then used that “intel” to get them to want to do helpful, meaningful tasks that benefitted them AND our whole household.

Because these incentives were often experience-based, they did not cost money – they cost our time. This was great because families like ours with four children usually necessitate creative budgeting. What a WIN!

Another win was that we were allowing our kids to choose whether they were having daily success. If they completed their daily plan, they were awarded the All Done Day coupon. None of our incentives could be bought with just one or two All Done Day coupons, so they needed to choose to be successful until they had enough coupons to cash in for their reward. If they did not finish their plan, they did NOT have an All Done Day. We never scolded or shamed them. We showed empathy for them and encouraged them that tomorrow they would have a new chance to have an All Done Day. We also created a GRACE coupon to deal with impossible situations. (For more about this, read Chapter 11 in my book All Done Day: How to Win at Everyday Parenting).

On top of all of this, I found that I was not having to nag my kids! The All Done Day plan was explained and we laid out our expectations from the beginning, and reviewed them often. We stood firm and did not waiver and the plans did the talking. And, EVERYONE WAS WINNING!

This is why All Done Day became a part of my family’s DNA from the time they were small til they left our home. I can’t recommend it enough for your family, too!

In the comments, share an incentive that you think would really motivate one of your kiddos!

If you like what you’ve read, please share this post with your friends!

Share this post

Related Articles

Map in My Lap

I got a GREAT gift for Christmas this year. It was something that I had hinted at for many years, and my husband finally took

Read More

Word Gifts

“Your words have power. Speak words that are kind, loving, positive, uplifting, encouraging, and life-giving.” -Unknown “Kind words can be short and easy to speak,

Read More

Ann Lahm

Author, Blogger

I love the opportunities to support parents and Moms in particular, that All Done Day has provided me.

Ann Lahm

My personal favorites
Make it Your Own



Become an All Done Day Blog Subscriber Today!

Receive the latest updates
from All Done Day!