It takes two weeks to create a habit.
The other day I was talking with a girlfriend about how we reward our kids with a star or sticker on a reward sheet. We both love this technique.
We have used this technique with Lucas for quite a few different behaviours that we would like to encourage, and also discourage. The last reward sheet we used was when Lucas went through a phase of having his finger up his nostril all the time. (eewww)
Firstly we talked him through some alternatives to picking - that if his nose was itchy he could blow his nose, or wipe it with a tissue (or his hand) or maybe even pinch it! Then we found out what his heart desired.....it was a Red Automoblox! (as it happened we had one of those lying about!)
We made a deal with Lucas that if he stopped picking his nose for 2 weeks he would get the reward. The deal was specific. (It has to be to work.) If we saw him rubbing his nose, or blowing it, instead of picking then he got a sticker. If he was picking his nose he got a line in a square. Two lines meant a cross and that square was a negative. The one time he got a line on his sheet he was so mortified his behaviour really changed after that one line. (We ended up putting a sticker over it.)
So once you have the reward worked out and the behaviours you are trying to encourage, then we made up a table in Word. You can put as many rows or columns as you think you need. We had 4 each day as we were rewarding an ongoing issue. This time (yes we are doing it again) we are doing just morning and night.
This time we are working on getting dressed and undressed all by himself. I'm a little sick of the 'game' of dressing which he has turned into a very giggly time consuming task. Also I just know he will feel so clever and confident doing it himself.
It's not a graphically designed sheet or anything, just a simple table.
Just a few tips -
1) You can copy the image of the reward from anywhere, or cut it out of some junk mail. Make sure it's something they really want.
2) Make sure your squares are big enough for you stickers! We have gotten this one wrong and the task went REALLY fast!
3) Do not use those cheap $2 shop stickers...they fall off and it's just a really sad reward sheet. We have some gorgeous stickers!
4) Try to keep it encouraging. Focus on the good behaviours.
5) We use the back of this sheet as well....so it was 2 full weeks.
6) Put the sheet up where they can see it and track their progress!
7) Make it fun! :-)
Update: As I was making the new rewards sheet I asked Lucas 'Now what was it you wanted for you reward? Did you want Skylanders?' (he thinks they are just plastic toys) Lucas replied 'I want 1 skylander and then for the 2nd I want a skylander and for 3rd I want a sklander!' Lucas loves skylanders?
- Helle Warming