February 23, 2011

Reward system

On Monday I spent most of the day working.  I have been extremely busy lately, and my husband had the day off for President's Day, so I got to spend several hours away from the house getting caught up on editing and grading.  When I got home, he had been to the grocery store and steam cleaned the carpets.  Amazing, right??!

Then he told me he had designed a new rewards system for encouraging positive behavior from our four-year-old.  They drew the chart together -- it's a really simple system they made using a grid on a piece of construction paper.  James drew his name on the paper and decorated the border.  Those rare Doctor Who fan readers may recognize a Dalek and TARDIS featured prominently.

They came up with three behaviors to work on: "I ate all my food without complaining," "I came when it was time to leave," and "I cleaned up my toys."  When he does one of these, he gets a sticker, and once he hits the first solid band, he gets a reward.  When he fills up the chart, he gets another reward.

Josh really went all out with the rewards (or "prizes," as James calls them).  I probably would have bought dinky rewards like stickers or crayons, but these are legitimately good rewards, and so far the behavior has improved markedly.

This morning I was trying to get James to wake up for preschool (why is it that they only sleep in when you have something scheduled in the morning?), and he was being really whiny.  I told him, "you can get a sticker if you get up right away, eat breakfast, and get dressed so you are ready to leave," and the whining shut off and he hopped out of bed.

I have never used rewards (or, bribes, really!!) before, but so far it seems to be working.  I think we'll scale down on the prizes eventually, but I like the chart system.  It helps James stay focused on improving a certain behavior throughout the day, which is a huge plus in my book.

Anyway, sorry, this is not design-related at all, but I just had to brag about what a great Daddy James has!  :)

And, by the way, does anyone else have more experience using a chart system to work on behavior issues?  I am curious as to what works and doesn't work.


Kara K said...

You're right - James is getting some awesome loot! And by the looks of it, he'll have his first "prize" coming to him soon!

Nicole @ one half world said...

Kara, yes, he got to open his WordWorld coloring book today. What he really wants is the Cars set, so he has to fill out the whole chart to get that one.

I am thinking I should have Josh establish a rewards system for me: if I fill out a row of stickers for "I kept Sammy from jumping on the couch" and "I ironed my church clothes before Sunday morning," I wonder what prize I would get? :)

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