Positive reinforcement is used in reward systems to encourage good behaviour. For toddlers, pre-schoolers, and school-aged children, here’s how to make reward systems work.
You can use a strategy that many parents preach to enable your child to accomplish behavioural milestones (and quell a few tantrums along the way): reward systems. They use positive reinforcement to foster behavioural change.
Here’s how it works in practise: Dr. Singh’s son Damian is 7 years old. She tries to get him ready for school. Rather than focusing on the bad parts of his tardiness, she emphasises the benefits, sets clear standards, and institutes a point system for him.
“Damian earned points in the morning for getting dressed on time, brushing his teeth, and eating his breakfast,” she explains. “There were points for putting his coat and shoes away and washing his hands when he returned home from school. There were points for bathing and brushing his teeth at night.” The results were totalled at the end of the week, and he was paid 10 cents for every three points. Damian was looking forward to spending his loot on trade cards and tiny toys.
Do you want to utilise a similar reward system in your home? Customizing it to your child’s age, personality, and interests is the key. Here’s how to create a rewarding system for your child. Read Also How to give your Children effective feedback?
For toddlers and pre-schoolers
Consider utilising a sticker chart for small children. The steps are straightforward: Every time your child achieves a goal, place a sticker on the chart. Some parents reward their children for reaching key milestones. (She can, for example, get one sticker for every time she dresses herself.) A tiny toy or fresh book is awarded every ten stickers. You can get printable reward charts on the internet, or you can design your own at home.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to use stickers. Dimes in a jar, fridge magnets, kid-friendly applications, counted points—anything that will drive your child to behave appropriately can be used as a reward chart. Just keep in mind that most young children benefit from some visual depiction.
Tips for using a reward chart :-
Reward your pre-schooler or toddler immediately
Stickers should be given right after the required behaviour happens to avoid any confusion. Otherwise, your child may forget why they are being praised.
Only keep track of one type of behaviour.
Only track one behaviour at a time when you first establish a reward system. Stickers can be earned for things like using the toilet, getting dressed, saying “thank you,” not whining, and so on. Once one behaviour is no longer an issue, you can move on to the next, always keeping in mind that your goals must be reasonable and age-appropriate.
Give lots of compliments.
Pre-schoolers and toddlers like pleasing their parents. When your child achieves a goal, lavish her with praise, and she’ll be motivated to keep going. Also, remind her of the reward system on a regular basis (“Remember, you’ll receive a sticker if you go to the loo in the toilet!”).
Use straightforward language.
When dealing with toddlers, it’s important to use simple terms. You’re praising your child for “saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,'” rather than “showing appreciation for acts of service.”
Bribes are not acceptable.
You shouldn’t use a reward system as a bribe, even if you’re anxious to get your youngster to behave in public. Your child may begin acting out on purpose, knowing that if they quit, they will be rewarded.
For School- Aged Kids
A reward system for school-aged children usually involves points rather than stickers. However, tracking points alone will not drive them to improve their behaviour, so parents must provide more substantial incentives. Kids can exchange 30 for a trip to the playground, a later bedtime, an extra half hour of video games, or tiny amounts of money, for example. Remember Dr. Singh’s strategy of giving her son ten cents for every three points achieved (which he then spent on modest things!) Here are a few points of the incentive system for kids’ success tips.
Keep track of a variety of behaviours.
As your children grow older, you can add more goods to the reward chart. Making his bed, regulating his temper, assisting with laundry, walking the dog, and being nice to his siblings could all earn your child points.
Consider taking points away.
Parents can pick how their chart works; however, some prefer to deduct points for negative behaviour. If this happens, make sure your youngster understands why.
Time sensitivity should be added.
Do you think your child has a proclivity for procrastination? Then include a time component in your incentive system! To earn points, your child could have to make his bed by 10 a.m., or he might have to finish all tasks before dinner.
Involve your children.
Consult with your youngster to come up with a list of easily available prizes that will drive him. If he already has shelves full of unread books, he might not care about obtaining a new one—but he might be yearning for a family bike ride to the neighbouring ice cream parlour!
Don’t deviate from the plan.
Reward charts clearly describe what your child is supposed to do, but they only function if you stick with it. Even basic star charts necessitate a significant amount of time, work, and energy. You must keep an eye on your children and oversee what they do and how they do it.