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How Much Value for a Point?

If you are using a points and reward system, how much should you establish as a value for the points you award to kids for improved behavior? A kids behavior point is worth whatever you designate it to be worth or nothing at all.

Specific Point Value

With the specific points value method, determine up front how much you want your points to be worth and then award and subtract points accordingly.

  • Example 1: Each point is worth 10 cents. Your child would like a video game which retails for $40.00. In this example, the relative value of each point is small, so you will want to award a good number of points for each behavior so your child can accumulate enough points to reach his reward. When your child accumulates 400 points, he can redeem the points for the video game ($40.00 x 10 cents per point = 400 points).
  • Example 2: Each point is worth one dollar. In this example, the point value is ten times higher than in Example 1. Since each point’s value is significantly higher, you would likely wish to award a smaller number of points, otherwise your child may earn the reward too quickly. Once your child accumulates 40 points, he may redeem his points for the video game ($40.00 x $1 per point = 40 points).

The end result in case 1 and case 2 are the same. What’s different is how many points you award each time. Give this careful thought before you set up the program, because once you start, it is hard to change the system. In general, older kids can wait longer for a reward, and younger kids may need more frequent rewards to encourage good behavior.

No Point Values

Another method of setting points is to weight the points relative to the item itself and not to the cost of the item. For example, let’s say your child already has a lot of video games, and you really don’t want him to obtain another game quickly. In that case, you may assign 100 points to a new video game which has no relation to the retail value of the game but sets the relative amount of points your child must achieve to earn that particular reward. There may be other items, however, that you wish your to be able to earn quickly, such as a book which you may set at 10 points.

Combination Method

Of course there is always the combination method. Using this method you may generally assign point values according to what the items cost but reserve the parental right to boost the point value of items for which you want your child to work harder.