There are no rewards or punishments …
‣‣‣ William Ralph
Don’t go overboard with rewards.
Eventually when a child normally meets a reasonable expectation, a friendly smile and firm thank you or a little affirming story (See Tool #22 Descriptive Recognition) will be enough to let your child know they are on track. With this in mind, use rewards wisely.
There are five different sorts of rewards:
- word stories of encouragement that describe what it is that is helpful and healthy and how you are thinking/feeling
- a hug
- a heartfelt thank you
- a two thumbs up
- a smile
- any ‘sign language’ gesture you invent with a child to use when you catch them doing something right
- food (debate rages!!)
- breakfast in bed
- chores done for you
- having your room cleaned up for you
- stay up late
- choose a treat destination for the family
- name and picture on the wall, special seat
- star charts
- buttons in a jar
Cumulative rewards have the advantage that some ‘stars’ can be taken away as part of bad consequences.
A technical term for a cumulative reward system is a ‘token economy’ where saved tokens can be exchanged for other reinforcers . This can be set up as part of the agreement.
While these systems may be easy to set up they are harder to adhere to for some of us ‘non-systems’ type people. Sometimes just the idea of them works. Sometimes our children will help us stick to them.