Teaching Children Responsibility with Poker Chips

Poker Chips


Growing up the word responsibility was very important.  We had jobs (or chores) to do every Saturday and after supper (dinner) all five of us kids had something to do to help clean up.  My mother taught us that responsibility should come first before leisure.  Both of my parents are hard workers and instilled those values on us kids.  My mother was a Catholic school teacher and my father was a Wisconsin State Trooper.  Besides their paying jobs, my mother worked hard to keep a clean house and my father worked hard to maintain our yard, garden, fix things in the home if they needed repair, and clear the snow off of the driveway in the winter while I was growing up.  We learned that hard work brings rewards.  Today my parents are blessed with good health so they can work hard volunteering in their community and church, and spend time traveling and visiting with their 5 children and 13 grandchildren.  I hope I am able to do the same thing when I am their age.

I’ve always admired my mother and I am trying so hard to raise my five kids in the same manner she raised us.  But, teaching them responsibility has been challenging.  Kids these days are so wrapped up in their electronics, video games, computers and gadgets that they are not always aware of what their parents do for the family.  I’ve learned that leading by example doesn’t always work when trying to teach your children responsibility.

My oldest is 19 years old.  When she was younger, my husband and I tried every technique in the book to teach her how to keep her room clean, help out around the house, and learn the art of responsibility.  It took her a lot longer than we expected to master this skill.  Today, she still struggles with keeping her room clean.  To avoid making the same mistakes with my younger children as I did with her, I decided to try a new game to teach my kids responsibility.

The Chip Game

What you will need:

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • House Rules
  • A Bowl or Bucket
  • Small Prizes from Your Local Dollar Store
  • Hand Written Coupons for Special Privileges
  • Poker Chips
  • Plastic Containers with Lids
  • Sharpie
  • Poker Chips


Set up the game

Chip Game2

The first thing you need to do is write out a set of house rules for your kids to follow every single day.  Make sure you display the rules in a high traffic area or a family room so your kids can read them and learn the rules.  Next, give each of your children a plastic container with a lid and make sure you have a container for yourself too.  You can either have your children decorate their container with simple craft supplies or you can just write their names on the containers with a sharpie.  Make sure you label your container as well.   Then, fill a bowl or bucket with small prizes from your local dollar store.  You can also make hand written coupons for special privileges like extra time on the computer or tablet and place them in an envelope for the prize bowl.  After that decide how many poker chips one prize will cost.  We make our kids earn 30 chips before they can get a prize or coupon.

How to play

Chip Game

Have your children sit down together on a couch, at a table or on the floor with their container.  Go through each house rule.  For every rule that your child obeys he will earn a chip.  When all the rules have been read and the chips have been passed out your child can count his chips.  If your child has enough chips he can exchange them for a prize or a coupon.

We are trying to play this game every single night, but sometimes it gets forgotten.  It is working and my kids are learning more about responsibility.

How do you teach responsibility?

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