Try these simple tips to rein those kids in!
We have probably all tried reward charts at some point. More than likely given up and thrown those very same charts in the bin at another!
Recognising when the kids have tried hard or done well is the best way to promote good behaviour. Keeping a reward chart is a way of reinforcing and acknowledging those moments.
Which I might add are very few and far between in my house!
Praise and attention are a form of positive reinforcement. In theory, appreciating and recognising the kids, good behaviour means that they are more likely to repeat that behaviour again. Reward charts make sure you both stop and savour the moment when they have done something right!
How to use praise
- Try to be clear about precisely what your child did that you liked. E.g., “I am so happy you put your books away” or “that was great sitting at the table while we ate” instead of a measly “good boy” or “well done”, This is called labelled praise. You can even throw in a big hug or smile for added effect.
- The most important thing to do is acknowledge the behaviour you want to see more of Immediately after you see it.
Be sure to link praise with your reward system, so your child associates good behaviour with feeling great. Add a sticker or draw a smiley face on your chart straight away for them to see.
Rewards and privileges can be used to encourage the kids to do more of the things you want them to do. As you probably already do nice things with them every day anyway these may not feel like rewards as they are relatively routine.
However, these nice things can be cunningly disguised as rewards, just by telling your child that they are happening because of something they did which you liked!
How to use rewards.
- Just like with praise, you need to tell the kids exactly why they are getting the reward.
- Vary the rewards, so they remain interested. It has to be something they like, not something we think is right for them!
- Give rewards in proportion to the behaviour, how long it lasted and its importance. E.g., Don’t offer a new bike just for eating all their dinner!
- Remember to praise and be enthusiastic when giving rewards. (yes I mean jumping up and down and talking in a high pitch voice!)
- Only provide rewards after the good behaviour and as soon as possible. Don’t make them wait until you go shopping on Saturday if its only Monday.
- This one is a biggie! After the event it is a reward, before the event it is a bribe! And we all know how well bribes work!
Bribery teaches kids if they misbehave they will probably end up with a treat anyway!
Setting up your reward system
- Set achievable goals; something you want to see more of.
- Think about what your child likes, a reward isn’t so rewarding if they don’t want it!
- Make the chart exciting, fun and inspiring. Something in line with their interests.
Building your reward programme
- What is the behaviour you are going to reward?
- What do the kids like to do?
- Be sure to talk to everyone involved with the kids (husbands, Grandparents, etc.) make sure you are all doing the same thing.
- Are you going to DIY or purchase the charts?
- Think about realistic rewards and how and at what point will they be doled out.
- Will rewards be given once they have completed the chart?
Important points to remember.
Spending time with you is not a reward.
If a child feels they are not getting enough attention and the only time you interact is when you acknowledge poor behaviour and bad choices the more they will continue with this kind of conduct. To a child, believe it or not, any attention is attention be it good or bad.
Try and avoid offering food as a reward, this just enables us to fill them with more”crap”. Healthy & nutritious food is not a bonus.
Be sure your rewards are realistic and not extravagant. Nobody likes a spoilt child! Don’t offer an I-Pad if you know you can’t afford it, this just puts pressure on you and will more than likely end in disappointed kids.
Remember to use specific phrases and try not to be too broad with your language. E.g. instead of, be good you should use a more targeting expression such as “do not hit your brother”!!
Reward charts are the best place to start when it comes to reining in a couple of unruly children. The key is to be sure to pick a time to start when you have plenty of time to
Reward charts are the best place to start when it comes to reining in a couple of unruly children. The best course of action is to wait until you have enough time to apply a system and you won’t be distracted by any other major life events.
The most important detail of all is to be consistent!