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Chip system
(encouraging positive behaviors)

Discipline often focuses on eliminating negative behavior. In our home we also try to encourage positive behavior. One of the ways we do this with our children is with a chip system. This is not a unique idea and is often called a poker chip economy.

We started out using poker chips but looking for something smaller moved to using the decorative squished marbles used for flower arrangements plants. We keep a large jar of them and smaller cups with the kids names on them in our kitchen. In our home, each chip is worth 10 cents.

Chips systems work great for children 2 to 10 years old. When children do something good they are rewarded with a chip. The system works well to address manners and attitude development. Our two year old may earn a chip for saying thank-you while a 10 year old may earn a chip for taking out the garbage with a good attitude. Chips work best with two or more children. If I “chip” my 7 year old for having her napkin on her lap during dinner my other kids quickly place their napkins on their laps.

There are two important rules in our chip system
1.) Children cannot ask for chips
2.) Parents cannot bribe with chips

It is great when a sibling says “Jimmy should really get a chip”. This system also allows for the inconsistency of regular life. We often go through stages where we use the chips a lot and then other times when it is rare.

When you are beginning a chip system at your house, you will need to “cash in” their chips weekly and take them shopping. In this way, your children will quickly learn the value of earning chips. (It is a great counting exercise for them as well.)


Written October 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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