Wednesday, April 28, 2010

*Train*ing a child

Thanks to all who offered encouragement on my post from Monday. On a practical note of what we've been dealing with with Nathan, I wanted to share about the train chart we've been using since November.

As part of our daily weekday routine, Nathan watches this classic show. He knows that when it is over, it's time for him to get ready for his nap. For a long time, I dreaded the first notes of the show's closing song, because Nathan would immediately start fussing about it being naptime. He would hide, run away from me, etc. He hadn't been responding to negative consequences, so I decided to try switching to positive reinforcement. I looked on-line for a chart where he could put stickers to track the days he made a wise choice in his attitude about naptime. I was thrilled to find this cute train chart. When he fills a train with stickers, I take him to the bakery to pick out a donut or cookie. (After a month of filling single trains, we moved on to filling two trains before doling out the reward.)

This system has worked like a charm--until recently, that is. I've been meaning to share about it for months, so naturally, I'm getting around to it just as it's becoming less effective for us. I'm not sure yet of how we're going to switch things up. If others of you use charts for reinforcing positive actions and behavior, I'd be interested to hear what works for you!


Wendi said...

I use a reward system with Megan also. I have a Megan can do it! chart. It has six regtangles with velcro. There are then six task for her to complete. Once the task is complete she removes the card and then replaces it with a star that velcros on. At the end of the day we count how many stars she has and then she is rewarded with a bead that goes into a jar. At first we tried to fill up the jar for a trip to the bookstore. That was taking to long so now there is a reward chart that shows her how many beads she need to earn for a certain treat. I change up the treats and the things she needs to do every so often.

An example of what is on the chart now is:

*Put dirty clothes in hamper
*Brush teeth without complaint
*Put things in recycle bin
*Rest quietly without coming out of her room during quiet time
*Put outside toys away before bath
*Sleep in her bed all night (I think she might never earn a bead for this one!)

We pull count the stars and introduce any new card after she brushes her teeth. It is a great way for Daddy to gush over all of her accomplishments while he was at work.

Katie said...

Cute reward chart! (Thomas has been well-liked by my kiddos too...hearing the catchy tune in my head now...) I have used a variety of reward charts ~ simple ones with star stickers during the younger years to more complicated ones as they grow up. Nothing is too worth mentioning though because some have worked ok, some have not. I too like to use positive reinforcement rather than focusing on taking privileges away, but I am definitely learning as I go in this parenting journey!! Will be interested to hear what others have to say too. I do have a *surprise* ~ pick your chore system (3 per day) out of a grabbag that works pretty well. Wendi's system sounds neat!

Mary said...

When my oldest started getting bored with the chart (very similar to your train one!), we started using what we call Reward Cards. I made a set of cards with various rewards on them. The rewards vary a bit by age, but are:
Treat (like your donut/cookie)
30 minutes TV/video game time
Choose dinner
Choose activity/game
And their favorite - the prize bag

They never know what card they are going to get and that surprise seems to be the real motivator.

Some cards (like choosing dinner) can't be cashed in right away, but by 4 years old, the kids were really getting the delayed gratification aspect of it and really liked it.

I printed a chart with the kids' names on it with empty squares under their name. When they get a reward point (sticker), I fill in a square with a dry erase marker. When they fill in all of their squares, they get to draw a card and we erase their points.

For my older kids, they have cards to stay up late on the weekend or get the night off of chores. For my last birthday, my oldest gave me his "night off chores" card that he had been saving so I could cash it in. :)

Mom said...

Mary's comment about TV time cards made me smile in remembering when we did that. It was fairly successful at the time, but seems to be less than fondly remembered by you and Monica! It is so typical of children that something that is successful for awhile loses its effectiveness and parents have to try something else. I'm confident that you and Eric will come up with another system that will work with Nathan -- at least temporarily! Love you, Mom

debra said...

Cute idea. I also found that things would work well for a while and then not as much. Keeps us moms on our toes for sure!