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How do I do this reward chart?

(14 Posts)
headfairy Thu 23-Jun-11 11:28:33

We've just done a really successful reward chart with ds, after months of getting up at 4am he's done a whole month of sleeping until 7am. He got a star every time he stayed in bed until bunny clock's eyes opened. His reward - a Buzz Lightyear toy which he's thrilled with.

So far so good.

I want to start another one now... he's been having some problems with hitting and aggression. He's quite aggressive with me and his sister and his nursery are now concerned that he's been hitting children there. I've talked about it to him in the past but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. Going by how well he responded to the reward chart to change his sleeping habits, I thought I could try a reward chart for good behaviour. But I can't for the life of me work out how to do it.

Do I give him a star at the end of the day if he's not hit anyone or been aggressive (snatching aggressively, pushing etc) or do we (as dh thinks) start the day with a star and then take it away if he's naughty?

I'm probably over thinking this, but my concerns with both methods is that with the first one I don't think he'll ever earn a star because we have at least four or five incidents of aggressiveness a day. I could give him a one strike and your out option I suppose. With the second option I think he'll have lost his star within minutes of waking up and then know he's got carte blanche to misbehave all day as he's already lost his star. What I need to do is make it achievable, and attainable so he puts the effort in.

Sorry this is such an essay, but I really need to get ds to change his behaviour. He's not a nasty child but his behaviour is pretty nasty at the moment.

SilveryMoon Thu 23-Jun-11 11:35:34

Personally, I would never take a reward away after it has been given. No matter how they behave after, they shouldn't lose stickers or rewards for behaviour they displayed to earn it.
My ds1 used to be very aggressive and when ever he hit or pushed, he would be removed from the room and sat in a time out until he was calm.
Still now when he does it, he has to sit outside the room and not mive until he tells me he is ready to play nicely.
I also gave ds1 an angry pillow so he had something that he could hit and kick without being told off. It really helped him to channel his emotions more appropriately.
Maybe you could sit him down and explain to him that no matter how angry and upset he gets, it is not on to hit or snatch toys, but that if he can tell his sister and you when you have done something that has upset him, he could get a sticker for acting nice and not lashing out then?????????
I think you could probably set achievable goals like giving him a sticker for every 15/20 mins he doesn't hit etc, but then you might find that stickers lose their appeal.
The key, IMO, is to get him to understand his feelings and emotions and give him a way to get those out without hurting anyone else.

headfairy Thu 23-Jun-11 11:49:27

Thanks for replying Silvery.... I have tried taking him out of the room, he sits in the hall kicking the living room door. I've sent him to his room and he kicks the floor and door in fury. Should I ignore the kicking and screaming and wait until he's totally calm? That can take at least half an hour sometimes.

This problem has been going on for a while, and what we've done so far didn't seem to be working. That's why I thought the different tactic, ie the reward chart, would work. I agree should never take away rewards once given. Dh and I part on this and it does cause a few short words sometimes. I've also kept his sleep reward chart totally separate from every other reward/punishment system we have. I figured it wouldn't work if he knew that he would have his stars taken away for something other than not sleeping.

I like the idea of the angry pillow. I might have to get him something similar. He obviously gets very frustrated and takes that out as violence. He also screams a lot, but we're quite a screechy loud family and I'm less bothered about that. I'd rather he stamped his foot and yelled than hit someone. To me that's definitely the worst option (out of two bad options).

He's 3.8 so I'm not sure if he understands his anger. Is there some surefire way of getting him to understand? I've told him that if he wants something from his sister to ask her for it and if she doesn't give it to him then he's to ask me, a couple of times I've stepped in before it escalated in to snatching and hitting and he's changed his behaviour, asked nicely for whatever he wanted, and got it. Despite this he'll still revert to violence if I'm not there to intervene.

Galena Thu 23-Jun-11 13:12:23

What about having 4 boxes per day - morning before nursery, morning at nursery, afternoon at nursery, afternoon/evening at home. Then if he gets a smiley face in 3 boxes out of 4 in a particular day he can have a star. That way a bad morning doesn't need to lead on to a bad day - he can still earn a star if he's great for the rest of the day.

But no - don't take stars away. Then he won't try to earn them because he knows you'll just take them away if you feel like it (well, you'd have a reason but he wouldn't see it like that!)

headfairy Thu 23-Jun-11 17:05:14

ooh Galena that's a really good idea. I just don't want him to give up trying. I do want to reward good behaviour so it becomes the norm for him to be like that. I will obviously still try and get him to discuss his behaviour too, try and get him to understand for example that asking nicely often gets better results than snatching and causing a huge fight.

Galena Thu 23-Jun-11 19:31:59

It may even be that for the first few weeks he only needs one smiley face to earn a star in a day, and then, once he's managing that most of the time he needs 2 and so on. Depends how bad it is at the moment! No point starting with 3 out of 4 if that's going to be completely unattainable for him.

headfairy Thu 23-Jun-11 20:23:17

That's a good idea... I think I'll try it for a few days and see how we go. He's already decided he wants a Woody to go with his Buzz Lightyear grin It's quite nice that he's already decided, all the time we were doing the sleep chart he was so focussed on getting the Buzz Lightyear that he tried so hard from the start.

Pkam Thu 23-Jun-11 20:48:27

We've done one before which is split down the middle. Happy face on one side, sad face on the other. Then they were awarded stars to stick on the happy side for good behaviour but also got stars on the sad side for 'bad' behaviour. We were concentrating on playing nicely, not arguing/fighting with each other and going to bed without tantrums. At the end of each week we totted up the stars and they had to get more happy stars than sad stars to get a treat. DDs were 4.5 and 3.1 at the time and both got the idea pretty quickly. This seemed to work with us because it reinforced the good behaviour as well as pointing out the bad behaviour.

We also told them that Santa would see the chart too (it was nearly Christmas) and would be able to tell if they'd been 'naughty or nice' blush

headfairy Thu 23-Jun-11 21:32:20

ooh I do like that variation too Pkam... I'm going to have to get really creative making a chart this weekend I think... I'm never going to find a reward chart in the shops that will do all this grin

Pkam Thu 23-Jun-11 21:43:18

All ours have been homemade - allows for specific tailoring to appeal to DCs. DD2s 'dry night' chart was a toy story picture covered in sticky plastic with three blobs of stick-on velcro arranged on the picture. Then small cutout Buzz, Woody and Jessie characters (with corresponding velcro) were stuck on each dry night. She had to get all three up there to get a treat. If she had a wet night they all got taken off and we started again. Didn't take her long to get it sorted.

Galena Thu 23-Jun-11 23:28:02

I'm not sure I'm a fan of stars for bad behaviour too... I guess I prefer the partitioning up of the day as it is a clearly defined time, otherwise if he's been good for a long while then hits it'd be tempting for me to put the bad star up and ignore the good... I guess different things work for different people...

headfairy Fri 24-Jun-11 12:14:21

I'm quite tempted to see if Smiths have got some happy and sad face stickers as opposed to stars. That might help differentiate between good and bad behaviour.

Starxx Fri 24-Jun-11 12:41:12

Some really useful comments on here ... Im actually making a chart now for my 5 year old (again) as we've started to have some aggressive and not listening behavour but even though Ive done it, Im not completely sure its right cos 1 day is a long day to get just a tick/star or a sad face etc.

Hope you find the right one for you.

Star xx

headfairy Fri 24-Jun-11 12:59:24

thanks star, I think thats why Galena's idea of splitting the day up in to four parts is really good. A smiley face for a good morning, a smiley face for a good afternoon, a smiley face for good bath and evening, and an extra special smiley face for getting all three - God how I'd love all days to be like this smile

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