Reward Chart - reward ideas.

(11 Posts)
mandbaby Mon 02-Jun-14 14:35:04

I have 2 sons aged 4.5 and nearly 3. When they're apart, they're angels and are very polite, calm(ish) and well behaved. Together they're like ferrel animals.

The last few days have been particularly tough. They keep doing things we've specifically asked them to stop (throwing toys over the neighbours fence), fighting with each other, etc. And yesterday, the eldest ran away from me in a very busy park and I was unable to chase after him due to being pregnant and having SPD. He refused to stop running despite me shouting at him and when I eventually caught up with him I was so cross I (regrettably) smacked him - something which I try hard NOT to do (How can I teach my sons that smacking each other and other children is wrong if I do it to them!!) But I was so cross and so upset at his sheer lack of respect and refusing to do as I ask. He knows he shouldn't run off, but did it anyway and thought it funny. When I put my sons to bed last night I cried and cried at my sheer lack of patience and parenting skills and lashing out at him.

So, now I'm going to try a reward chart and see if that makes an improvement in their behaviour. At the moment, I'm thinking if they get a star in every category for that day (dress themselves, brush teeth without tantrums, eat all their meals, use their manners, behave well, do as mummy asks) and then issue a small reward at the end of every day (an extra story at bedtime, their favourite dessert after tea, etc).

And if they get a star in every box all week, they can choose an activity to do at the weekend or even pull a small "surprise" present out of a box. Something cheap (bottle of bubbles, etc). I think my boys would love the idea of a "reward box" and being able to dive in and pull a mystery, wrapped up present out. It's just thinking of things to put in that they'll enjoy and wont cost me a bomb.

Can anyone think of any other, suitable rewards that wont cost very much. My mind's a blank!!

LauraChant Mon 02-Jun-14 14:41:52

We did this a few years ago and I am racking my brains trying to remember what was in the bag. Lego minufigures was one, small boxes of cereal out of variety packs (! I know, but the kids like them and we ususlly only have porridge or Weetabix), but I can't remember what else. I'll ask DS1 when he comes home, he might remember.

LauraChant Mon 02-Jun-14 16:50:23

DS remembers chocolate bunnies and "little toys" - sorry that is not very helpful! I think we had some highlighter pens, small pots of playdoh and some chalk, possibly. Maybe some books from the charity shop and crafty stuff from Wilko.

Hope you are feeling better. It sounds like a tough time. The reward bag worked for us, to the extent that I can't remember now what behaviour I was trying to correct!

Guin1 Tue 03-Jun-14 07:32:30

Maybe little matchbox type cars? You could always try gumtree or charity shops to find a variety of cheap toys. My DS is only 22 months and too young to understand a reward chart, but I'm planning on using one in future and bought a bulk load of 60 matchbox cars off Gumtree for about 30 pounds so I'm prepared! I hope he is still as keen on then in a year's time as he is now!

Another idea is a 'voucher' for them to do something that they really like.

LastingLight Tue 03-Jun-14 09:08:02

Stickers, plastic animals, temporary tattoos, marbles.

I suggest you limit the categories to very few for starting off so that they can get the idea. Also for that age I would give a reward after they earned x stars, regardless of whether it was all on one day. It makes it more attainable and more likely that they won't lose interest.

mandbaby Tue 03-Jun-14 10:39:54

Guin1 - yes I thought about a "voucher". Matchbox cars are a great idea too, and I'm definitely going to have a look around some local charity shops for jigsaws/books and other things.

My boys love balloons, so that's another inexpensive one I've thought of. Maybe little bags of haribo too.

It's basically "party bag" goodies isn't it. But my mind is just blank!

Well done you for thinking of a positive reward system rather than punishing them.

Little bag of haribos or similar?
bouncy ball

You could look somewhere like www.yellowmoon.co.uk for more ideas.

Swanhildapirouetting Tue 03-Jun-14 20:28:41

just a word of warning. Small children can find it difficult to think ahead, so a reward at the end of the week might be too much to work towards, and actually DEMOTIVATING. Also, there can be the backlash when one gets a reward and the other doesn't. I think motivating with attention is a better long term strategy than physical rewards. So every time they are doing what you want, you "notice", and thank them for doing what they did nicely, helpfully, kindly etc. You praise the action rather than the child. So eg "I liked it when you played with those trains just now, that helped Mummy have a peaceful time, or you asked so politely for that drink, it makes my ears smile..

Read How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen so Kids Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. Google it on Mumsnet and you will find it mentioned time and time again as a life saver and an eye opener.

Running off is such a nightmare isn't it, I think we all feel like smacking them when they do that. I think it is one of those things children do when they are slightly frazzled - it can be a reaction when they are a bit all over the place, not listening, I mean. You can start from the beginning and remind them exactly where they can run and where they cannot, when they are in a good mood and not frazzled, and then it can become a habit that they don't run off even when the mood takes them. But it might have to be something you work on with them when they are not being generally exasperating.

ChoudeBruxelles Tue 03-Jun-14 20:31:29

Stuff that you get for party bags - bouncy balls, mini bubbles, small packs of pencils, mini notepads

mandbaby Wed 04-Jun-14 10:04:15

Swanhildapirouetting I bought "how to talk so kids will listen..." a year or so ago and read it through. I've since bought other, similar books. Whilst they DO help, I do think that in the heat of the moment when children are mid-tantrum and tiredness/hormones/stress/whatever gets in the way, I think it's only human for us to forget what we've read and to put it into practice at exactly the right time.

I have taken on board what you said about a week being too long a goal for them to work towards, so I will give a small reward at the end of the day. I also think the chart will help me to give verbal and physical praise at a particular moment rather than it just passing me by, as it so often does.

Swanhildapirouetting Wed 04-Jun-14 13:01:55

yes, I think that's why reward charts do sometimes work because it tends to encourage praise and interaction. I just wanted to sound a note of caution in case it all becomes too exhausting, and you feel frustrated (having spent many years trying to successfully implement reward charts I felt it was a bit of a hit and miss method, because sometimes when you implemented the "consequences" their behaviour deterioated further)

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