“Mom, can I have a piece of candy?”
“Do I get chocolate milk for dinner tonight?”
“When can I watch a cartoon?”
“Is tonight a video game night?”
These are the questions that can drive a mamma up a crayon colored wall. Candy, chocolate milk, T.V. and video games are not big time regulars in our house but they are big time conversations. Conversations because one particular 4-year old wants them all the time and conversations because that same particular four year goes through phases of losing them all the time.
If I said yes, every time I was asked I would have some serious TV watching, video game playing, sugar hyped kids. Add to that the fact that these “privileges” often serve as currency for some much needed change in behavior and you get…well.. a constant NO.
So, we have a new behavior system in our house.
We are now using tokens. Instead of taking things away for BroBro’s bad choice in behavior, I am now giving them for his good choice in behavior. Each time I see him exhibiting the types of behaviors I expect, he will earn a token.
The tokens are then used to “buy” those special privileges that he is so often asking for. If he wants a particular privilege, he first counts his tokens. If he has enough in his jar then he can ask and I am able to say ‘YES’. If he does not, then he does not ask. He must continue to show good behaviors and earn the tokens necessary for the wanted privilege.
At first I wondered if this was the best plan for our family. I don’t necessarily believe my kids should be getting rewards for behavior that I expect them to exhibit but with my 4-year old I had hit a point of constant battle. Our days were filled with back-to-back consequences because there were so many behaviors that needed to be dealt with at the same time and I was beginning to feel like our home had turned into a war zone.
We now have been using our new token system for about two weeks and so far it has been a wonderful plan for our family. By rewarding the seen good behaviors I am not only giving him something to work towards but I am also exemplifying to him the exact behaviors I want him to show. In addition, I am not being asked the same questions over and over. BroBro’s repeated good behavior is leading to his wanted privileges and instead of constantly saying NO, I am getting to say YES. It’s a win-win all around.
Now, off to teach the concept of saving for the bigger ticket items. We’ve got a Daddy on the sidelines who is itching for the tokens to be saved and redeemed for an hour of video games.