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Best rewards for children

It's like a dream come true when Aysu's four-year-old announces she's going to organize her room. Actually ... not so much.

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Aysu Basaran
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Aysu Basaran

Last weekend, I talked to the girls about how important it is to try to help mom and dad.

We discussed things like setting the table and cleaning their rooms. I thought the message really hit home when my four-year-old said, "OK mom, I'm going to organize my room right now!" For me, it was like angels were singing from high above ... she finally got the message!

Fifteen minutes later, I went to check on her progress. And this is what I found.

Aysu Basaran's daughter "cleans up" her room.

She organized her room alright! She moved everything into the hallway!

Needless to say, our little one didn't get a "reward" for her efforts to organize her room.

So what are the best "rewards" for children? In our home, the girls earn marbles for completing tasks such as taking care of pets, helping fold the laundry, or -- ahem --cleaning their rooms. When they fill a small jar full of marbles, they get to pick out a surprise. It's worked well so far, especially with our oldest children.

I'm curious about what other parents do. Is praise and positive attention enough? What works for you? What really engages those young ones?

This mom of three would love to hear your ideas!

Aysu is the busy mom of three girls and assistant news director at WRAL-TV.
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