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Help with reward/sticker chart please

(10 Posts)
prettyinpunk Wed 23-Sep-09 13:04:27

our ds1 (4.3) is driving us bonkers at the moment and our house is not a happy one as a result.

he's going through an incredibly stubborn, defiant and cheeky phase, exacerbated perhaps by a recent house/location move; a long summer with no friends to play with and starting reception a few weeks ago.

time outs (either in his room or in the hall), taking toys away and general negative feedback just haven't worked at all, and as i said, the atmosphere in the house has degenerated into a negative, horrible place with shouting, tears and threats. i can't remember the last time either my dh or i praised ds, which makes me really very sad.


i have decided my new tactic to make the house a more positive place is to start a sticker/reward chart - or a jam jar to put, for example, pasta shapes in which can be added to or taken away depending on behaviour.

what i really wanted help with was the following:

- does ANY act of helpfulness/loveliness/listening deserve a sticker/shape?

- does any show of defiance/answering back/aggression/shouting/not listening deserve a taking away?

- how many stickers/rewards deserve a treat?

- what sort of treat should it be? is a comic too 'little'? or should it be a bigger deal treat, like a new toy? or is an outing or activity of their choice a better idea?

any ideas or suggestions would be really really appreciated...

prettyinpunk Wed 23-Sep-09 13:07:34

sorry, me again!

just to add to above question of how many stickers/rewards would deserve a treat, i was thinking of using a gherkin/coffee-sized jar which would need to be filled in order to deserve a treat/reward.

FernieB Wed 23-Sep-09 13:10:42

Why don't you ask your son what he thinks? At 4, he knows what is good and what is naughty. Get him to help make the reward chart and decorate it, or to decorate a jam jar. Then sit down with him and make a list together of how he thinks he can earn stickers and what he thinks would be naughty enough to have them taken away.

You could do a trade-in system. If he got 10, he could trade them in for a comic or something small, but if he wanted he could save them up to get 20 and then get a bigger reward.

FernieB Wed 23-Sep-09 13:12:26

The amount of stickers for a reward would depend upon how freely you are going to give them out. Obviously you don't want to be buying him a reward every day. How many do you think he could earn in a week? That should probably be your starting point for a reward.

mazzystartled Wed 23-Sep-09 13:13:20

I am not a big fan of sticker charts

I think they work for particular, very specific behaviours in the short term

It's got to be very clear what it is for

In circs you describe try ignoring the bad and going overboard on praise for the good. Positive reinforcement. Attention for nice behaviour. Try How to Listen so Kids will Talk and Talk so Kids will listen/Unconditional Parenting stuff.

IMO reward charts ultimately become self-defeating

prettyinpunk Wed 23-Sep-09 13:53:55

i can see where you're coming from mazzy, but at the moment i'm just desperate for some method that may help with the phase ds is going through at the moment.

i'm pretty sure it is just a phase and that he genuinely does want to get out of the vicious circle of negativity that we're all in.

i think this because he does, sporadically, show acts of real tenderness and consideration.

most of his behaviour is down to our current negative and impatient parenting, i'm sure. i'd like to use the rewards as a boost to his confidence as well, as he is a boy who needs to see results. i think it's worth a try, even if it is only a short-term solution, because i think that's what we need to kick-start us.

i have tried 'how to talk' methods before, and will definitely continue to use these in conjunction with the reward system.

mazzystartled Wed 23-Sep-09 14:26:32

Just sent a long reply and computer crashed

At 4 I would make the rewards relatively easy to get. 10 = small treat

And I wouldn't do taking away as punishment -I'd keep negative and positive separate.

I'd still try to make the reward system as specific as possible - for one, two or 3 things that the two of you agree.

And I'd have a stash of other stickers (and/or a bag of go to the park/read a book together/make a smoothie tokens) for instant rewards for other generalised niceness/mummy is proud of you moments.

NestaFiesta Mon 05-Oct-09 12:15:19

I don't care what people say- reward charts are great. I recommend only putting three or four specific lines though such as "I tidied my toys away", "I went to bed without a fuss" etc. If our son gets all his stars for a week he has treats written on the chart such as a small toy (Poundland, or a trip to softplay. He has been quite nuaghty lately so its taking him much longer to get his seven stars. Its his fault- he'll have to wait longer if he wants his rewards.

We let him choose the colour of the star and stick it on himself. He has lots of praise every time he gets a star. We are not perfect parents but we are chuffed to find something that works.

tothesea Mon 05-Oct-09 12:44:10

We didn't get on all that well with stickers so we are using a simple climbing up the ladder type of chart - good behaviour goes up the ladder and and bad behaviour comes down.
When he gets to the top (10 rungs) he gets a treat - he usually manages to get to the top within the week. Mostly the threat of coming down the ladder will stop bad behaviour and if he does come down he knows it is serious.. I found stickers too fiddly and this much simpler and it has been effective.

Mousey84 Mon 05-Oct-09 12:56:27

My friend gives her 2 kids 3 coins in their piggy bank each day and if they are naughty they get one taken away (after one warning). They can choose to earn it back through extra chores. They do not earn points (other than the original 3) for behaviour that is expected of them. It doesnt matter to the kids if its 3 x 1p or 3 x 5p, they just wnat to keep their coins!

My dd made up her own chart based on points, and she saves the points up for things like a 20p mix, a comic or book, cinema trip.

Whatever you do, you must make sure you can be consistent with it or it will never work. Dont make it too complex!

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