We needed a way to motivate our children to be cooperative, particularly with school. We tried taking away privileges for misbehavior. But much to my dismay, no amount of revoking privileges and threatening was very effective. Since our previous discipline procedure has been ineffective, we decided to veer more towards the positive reinforcement route. My husband came up with the idea of allowing our children to earn tokens for good behavior, which they can redeem later for things they want. Then we got to work on devising a monetary system.
Here’s what we came up with–
Each day, one Behavior Buck is earned simply for doing schoolwork and chores without (too much) complaint. If there is whining about school or “forgetting” to do chores, then the child will not earn a Behavior Buck for the day.
We will also randomly reward additional Behavior Bucks when we notice our children doing a good job or exceeding expectation, or when they agree to do an extra job. Being exceptionally helpful at entertaining and running after younger siblings during doctor’s appointments, for instance, is deserving of an extra Behavior Buck. Or when the piano teacher says that lesson went really well that week, I also hand out an extra Behavior Buck.
Occasionally, I issue a “ticket”, in which a Behavior Buck must be paid to mom or dad for refusal to be obedient, lying, throwing tantrums, etc. This does not happen very often, because I have angel children, of course! 😉
Then, we brainstormed things that are enjoyable for kids, keeping in mind what our children find particularly enticing. We decided on prices for each thing; then, I designed, printed, and laminated reward cards.
Ideally, we open the “Family Store” just before dinner, where the children have a chance to redeem Behavior Bucks. We have all the reward cards in the Family Store, along with some extra goodies (bubble bath, inexpensive toys, etc) that they can buy.
As your children’s interests evolve, so do your Behavior Buck rewards. For instance, my boys are trying to earn money for Cub Scout day camp right now. So we introduced a new Behavior Buck redemption option for earning money for day camp: 2 Behavior Bucks can be traded in for $1.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how grand an idea or system is if you don’t have buy-in. It is important to really know your children and what motivates them. I am confident that as our children grow and mature, a “trip to the swings” won’t be enticing any more. As our children reach adolescence, we’ll probably begin paying in “real” money rather than Behavior Bucks. But I LOVE how effective our Behavior Bucks have been!