Sunday Scoops: Encouraging, Motivating & Rewarding a Child’s Good Behavior

We go to church for three hours each Sunday, and the first hour is spent together as families.  When you’re little (and even when you’re big) it’s hard to still still for that long, and being quiet at the same time.  I bring plenty for them to do, but the wiggles can set in, and helping them sit still can be a challenge. With six kids sitting next to each other, they also *might* be known to take their wiggles out on the person next to them.  To help motivate, encourage, and reward their good behavior, we use SUNDAY SCOOPS! I’ve learned that kids really respond to visual cues, and this does that–it shows them what they’ve earned, what they’ve lost, and they can more easily connect it to the consequence, good or bad. We love it…it’s worked wonders for us!

Sunday Scoops |

It’s very simple, really. Each child starts with three scoops of ice cream. They will lose a scoop for things like: not listening, being too loud, squabbling with a sibling, and other items I won’t mention here. ☺  I don’t have to give a verbal warning, all I need to do is take away a scoop. They’re able to earn back scoops, by correcting their behavior, reaching out to help another sibling, etc. 

If they have lost all their scoops by the end of the meeting, they will have also lost having a Sunday treat. This is a big deal at our house. We have a tradition of making a treat together each Sunday, and it’s much anticipated by all. You can literally choose to do scoops of ice cream, or any other treat or reward.

Sunday Scoops |

I’ve also started  using it for times other than church–the doctor’s office is another time that sitting still and waiting can be difficult, especially when I’m trying to communicate with a doctor or nurse.  The reward/consequence will be different–maybe it’s computer or screen time, or another privilege (depending on the child), but once again, the scoops are a visual of where they’re at, and what it represents.  This also works at home–put up the ice cream scoops on the fridge or magnet board, and tell them ahead of time what they’re working for. 

I don’t always give extra rewards for good behavior–it’s something we teach and expect. However, there are some circumstances that I recognize are more difficult (such as church, the doctor, other  times they have to wait) so I have no problem helping things along.  If I use it at home, however, their behavior determines whether or not they have earned the privileges they love–computer, tv, etc.  The nice thing about this chart, is that you can adapt it to your family, and to whatever your needs are.

Sunday Scoops |

Here’s how to put together your own Sunday Scoops!


-file folder
-stick-on velcro tabs, and strips
-scrapbook paper
-contact paper OR lamination supplies
-distress ink
-ice cream template


1. Print out your ice cream template (or draw your own), and cut it out. (You can reduce the size before printing if you need to.)

2. Trace the template onto your scrapbook paper of choice–depending on the flavors of ice cream you want! I did 3 scoops per child, and did chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and mint chocolate chip.  :) I made this before the days of Silhouette, but if you have one, or another vinyl cutter, you could use that instead.

3. Cut out the scoops, then distress all the edges if desired.

4. Cover scoops in contact paper, and then cut out, leaving an edge around the scoop. If you have a laminator, you can use that too! When I made these years ago, I didn’t have one, so I used contact paper, and it worked great. Now I do have a laminator, and I would have used that.  Either way works great!

5. Decide where you want your scoops inside the file folder. Using the Velcro tabs, apply the scoops to the folder.
Apply one long strip of Velcro (just the fuzzy side) to the inside of the folder, next to the scoops. This is a place to put the scoops if they are taken away.

6. Print out names and folder title (Sunday Scoops) on cardstock. Mat with coordinating cardstock, and distress all edges. Mat the title again with scrapbook paper. Apply names and title to folder using double stick tape.

7. Distress edges of folder and staple ribbon to top of file folder.

Sunday Scoops |

It really has made a difference for our family–I hope it does for yours, too!

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  1. Thank you so much for this idea! I have been struggling greatly with my three-year-old son, and we just made one of these together because of your post. Can’t wait to try it out. :)

  2. We totally do this at our house, but with the ice cream. Behavior is SOO much better because of it! My kids would move mountains for sugar. :)

    1. Yep–sugar is the biggest motivator at our house too!!! :) So glad it works for your family! xo

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