There is so much research out there right now in regards to “do you” or “don’t you” give your child rewards when they do something good.
There are reward charts, stars, trips, money, praise, and so many more that can be done. Do they work? As a parent, you are actually, the only one who can answer that question. I will say that, and many of you parents already know this, they do work, but in the long run become ineffective. At least once a month I’ll have a parent in my office who has tried the reward system and found that they had been using it and it worked but now “it just doesn’t work any more!”
The most logical answer is always the best. Do what works for your child. If something isn’t working, change, do something different. If something is working, by all means keep doing it!
I came across this website today that offered free printable reward “tickets”. I always like these. Another of my favorite things to do is have reward cards. Similar to what most of us adults have for our favorite places we shop. I know I have one for Starbucks! Of course we are not trying to get our children to buy more of our product (hum…. what would that be?) but we are wanting them to have an incentive to do some things at certain times.
Elementary students and even some middle school age children love reward cards. If you are going to make up your own reward card (and yes you can do that), be sure that the reward is written on the card. Consistency and accountability are two things you need to be striving for. You and the child agree to a reward. If you are the one making the decision it’s less likely to work. In a world of adults constantly making the rules and having the control, sometimes allowing the child to have a little say in things is a big deal to them.
I’m not saying that you allow the child to have the ultimate decision on the reward. Brain storm with your child about what they might like. Put a limit on monetary value or even say it can’t cost anything. You’ll be surprised at the answers you might get.
Something that doesn’t cost a lot of money, or even better, no money at all. Many times simply being able to do something with your child and you, one on one, is often the best reward. I can see some of you shaking your head now. Yes it is. I promise. Write it on the card. This is important! How many times, as parents, do we agree to do something then change what we promised to do when the time came? Don’t sit there and say you never do it. We all have. I am a parent too. Life happens, we get tired, things change, etc and etc. Accountability! Do you want your child be be accountable for what they do? Then you have to do the same.
Of course, we all want our children to do as they are asked, when they are asked, behave, get a long with their siblings, don’t talk back, done be rude, don’t do this and don’t do that, but let’s be real. They are children.
In order for a reward card to work these simple steps should be taken
- You and the child agree to the goal. Brain storm these until you find something you both can agree on.
- You and your child agree to what is needed to earn a hole punch. Usually 5 times is good.
- You and your child agree to what the reward will be and write it on the card (or paper). Stick to it!
- Give it a time frame. Usually one week is good.
- Uphold your end of the bargain!
What happens at the end of the time frame and the child hasn’t got the five holes punched? Start again. Offer more encouragement and don’t badger or punish for not accomplishing the goal. Do you achieve every goal you set out to do?
Why do I like these goal cards? Because you aren’t punishing the child for not doing something. You are rewarding them for doing something, hopefully, for changing a behavior, being accountable for something, working toward something.
What are some ideal things that can be done with the cards?
- getting them to take out the trash
- emptying the dishwasher
- saying something nice to a sibling once a day (yes this is very helpful)
- Take the dog for a walk.
- set the table
What are some ideas you have?