Monday, 16 February 2015

Reward Charts - Torsmum style

The first time I introduced Tor to a reward chart was when he was learning to use his potty. Looking back I am not really sure why I adopted the idea in the first place but since then we have tried out lots of different reward concepts and styles. All have worked, all for different reasons.

I think the reason why they have worked for Tor is because I have tailored them to suit him and his needs at the time. I do not think a one fits all approach works, well at least it does not work for Tor.

I hope that getting all of the different ideas we have used out on my blog will help all to tailor or personalise to their children's needs or even decide that the reward system is not for them. In no particular order, here are our reward charts, Torsmum style.........

Tor was being 'potty trained'. He was full-time at nursery at the time and his nursery were very happy to work in a way that suited Tor and suited our home life. At that moment in time Tor was Star Wars mad, to be honest not much has changed that way!
As Tor was still quite young, around 3 years old if I recall correctly, I did not want anything too complicated and I wanted something that could work both at home and at his nursery.
Tor really, really, really loved General Grievous. So the simple idea came about.

  • Get a A4 piece of paper
  • Get a shed load of Gold Stars
The target was to get all the gold stars on the paper. For every time he attempted to use the potty or toilet, for every time he managed it, for every time he told me he needed the toilet a gold star went on the paper. When all of the gold stickers were applied to the paper then General Grievous was coming his way. My hint here is to have copious amounts of gold stickers so that the reward was not given until the potty training had succeeded.
Tor is still very proud of his achievement and nearly 4 years later the gold star page is still on our wall.

I wrote a post about TV Tokens nearly a year ago. It worked very well for about two weeks. The general gist was that he started started with a quota of 30 minutes of television a day. If he did good things then he was rewarded with more time and if his behaviour was not good then tokens could be taken away.

The reason this worked was because it had a goal. The goal was to teach him that there is always a result to both good and poor behaviour and also for him to realise that watching television was not the be all and end all of things to do.

The reason it was short lived, I must admit was down to me. It was hard work for me.
Now i am not one to shy away from hard work, especially when it comes to Tors behaviour, but I realised that it took so much patrolling that I was becoming quite slack with it and rather than it becoming a chore over a rewarding system we decided to stop. 
The reason Tor thinks it stopped was because he had done so well and turned his poor behaviour around. Which in a lot of parts is very true.

This is a system wish I had a record of.
It again, was one that I introduced whilst Tor was in nursery and it was to reward the things he could do on his own. To encourage his independence with daily tasks and for him to feel proud of his achievements even if they were small.
Tor had two small boxes. One had a pile of tokens in it and the second I fashioned like a small post box.
The tokens were hand made and laminated. Each Token had a picture on which signified something he could do.
  • Get dressed
  • Get un dressed
  • Wash his face
  • Wash his hands
  • Tidy up
  • Extra special smiley face
Any time that Tor did one of the above tasks on his own or with very little assistance from himself then he took the appropriate token and posted in the post box. I made sure that there was enough tokens for each day. 
The extra special smile face was for any extra task that he did that I felt should be recognised.
At the end of the day we counted the tokens in the post box and if there was more in the post box than in the original box then he was rewarded with something of his choice. Within reason, most of the things he chose were an extra story at bedtime, an extra 10 minutes of television.
This eventually faded out as he went to school and I expected him to do these things as a matter of course rather than something to be rewarded.

This lasted a couple of months but Tor struggled with its generalisation and got bored of it. My friend used this method, or their version of it (I copied!) very well with her two children.
It is very simple to set up. All you need is:
  • A grid drawn out on a piece of paper - How many squares it has is completely up to you
  • Lots of stickers of any type
When Tor had a good day at school he put a sticker in a square. When Tor did something I felt was worth rewarding, he put a sticker in a square. If he helped with a job, sticker in the square.

When the whole grid was full of stickers a pre-agreed treat was given. Tor chose to have some pocket money.

We are into the second week of this reward chart and it is working very well. I picked up a reusable wipe clean reward chart from Tesco's that I think only cost me around £3.00. It had removable stickers although I am not sure how long these will last as on Sunday it took me about fifteen minutes to remove them!

Each day Tor has the opportunity to have 10 stickers awarded to him. Some reward spaces are for specific things and three are for "special stickers" where I can reward him for helpful jobs or fantastic behaviour.

1) Get dressed - getting dressed in the morning, must be done as soon as he is asked to and must be done within five minutes. Tor struggles with this as there are always things to distract him
2) Wash teeth - must be done either on his own or with my help
3) Special Sticker Space
4) All remembered - Did Tor remember everything he should have taken to school, bring home from school and do at school? This is to help him to remember to hand in any forms, bring home his reading book etc.
5) Good School Day - It does what it says on the tin.
6) Clear Dinner plates - Tor needs to clear his plates and cutlery off the table at the end of dinner
7) Special Sticker Space
8) Special Sticker Space
9) Read School Book/Do Homework - It does what it says on the tin
10) Wash teeth - must be done either on his own or with my help

Because there are tasks in there that relate specifically to school I have put in a black cross on Saturday and Sunday for these. Also this week being half term he is going to stay with his Dad for a couple of days so I have also crossed these out.
The reasoning behind this is his end of week reward is dependant on how many stickers he has received. Last week he could have received a total of 66 stickers which would have resulted in a £3.00 reward. If he received 50 - 65 stickers it would be £2.00 and 25-49 stickers £1.00
I have done this so that even if he missed a couple of stickers he still has something to aim for by the end of the week.
Last week he received 41 stickers and was awarded £1.00
Today was the first day of the new week. His targets are as follows:
25 - 34 stickers £1.00
35 - 42 stickers £2.00
43 stickers £3.00
He did extremely well today and has been rewarded all 10 stickers. His special stickers were for going to the shop for milk on his own, drying up and some amazing spontaneous maths skills at the dinner table.
I think with this one I may tailor it each week dependant on what direction I feel he may need a little encouragement in. It is working really well at the moment and the main thing is that Tor is really enjoying it and is responding positively to it.

When looking at a reward system, I would recommend the following:
1) Do something that has a purpose. Do not do one just for the sake of it, make it work for what you and your child would like to achieve.
2) Make it fun
3) Make it achievable
4) Do not make hard work for yourself
5) Change it, let it evolve
6) If it doesn't work, do not do it
7) Do not use it as the only source of praise. Keep praising, keep rewarding at other times.

I do hope this has been useful, please feel free to share your own ideas or ask any questions if you would like.

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