Thursday, March 31, 2011

{Creative Parenting} Finding your child's Currency

Will work for Jellybeans?!

I am do you reward yourself for a job well done?
Do you work hard now so you can play a little later? Say after all the laundry is done and you've done your chores that starbucks is a callin your name? Or maybe you reward yourself by watching a favorite tv show that you recorded on the DVR. Or maybe it's even just the self satisfaction that a task is done that makes you feel good about it.  I am sure the power of stickers and stamps have been long lost on you in adulthood.  I mean everyone loves a gold star, but compared to maybe a new pair of shoes, it just doesn't quite gather the same satisfying feeling of "I did a great job!" or "I deserve this". do you reward your children for a job well done?
treats, stickers, stamps, a trip to a favorite place, hugs, high fives?  I am sure the answer to this question is different for every parent. 

 As  teacher and Child Development educator I am constantly asked the question : "How do I get my child to (fill in the blank)? You want your kids to clean up their toys, stay in their own bed at night, eat all of their dinner, help around the house, be responsible, do homework without a struggle, contribute in a positive way....the list goes on and on.  I have discussed before some great options to implement in your everyday routines.  See my posts on Positive Reinforcement & Chore Charts.  These are great ways to encourage and keep your child on track with day to day responsibilities.  One of the greatest lessons I have come to learn through my experience as a teacher and Child Development major is that every child, every person, has a currency.  By currency I mean an object or reaction that drives you to complete a task.  For some it may be as simple as a high five, a hug, a pat on the back, or the words "well done" or "Good Job" that we attain at the end of a task or job.  For children it is usually much simpler in nature.  Such as stickers, or a privilege such as screen time, or maybe getting some special mommy or daddy time.  The trick to motivating your child to complete tasks and ordinary chores or behavior is finding what above all else they think is worth doing something for.  This currency also changes as a child gets older and experiences more things in the world around them.  You also need to change up the reward for different behaviors.  For example: My 4 year old daughter has recently decided that she does not like sleeping in her room by herself.  Several times a night she comes and wakes us wanting us to lay with her or vice versa.  It has become quite disruptive to say the least.  This is a big thing for her, something a sticker in the morning is not going to fix, so I had to get creative.  I know my daughter loves to ride the carousel at an outdoor shopping area near by.  We have not been in quite some time.  I told her if she could stay in her bed for one night we would go the next day.  Remember to pick a reward that is do-able for you and your family.  This motivated her extremely well and it worked she stayed in her bed, but the next night of course she assumed that if she stayed in her bed again we would go the next day as well.   Now, I don't want to be going to the carousel everyday! So I told her now that she would have to stay in her bed 2 nights, and I she knew she could do it because she had already done it once.  I told her she would get an extra gold star on her behavior chart as well.  This worked for her.  I continued to stretch out the days until what do you know...she is sleeping in her bed all night now!!  

So if the power of the sticker or stamp has lost it's effect on your child, try thinking creatively about what they enjoy or what really motivates them...they all have a currency- and it's different for every child!  I even suggest sitting down with your child and making a list of what he/she loves to do, eat, read etc, so that you have a list ready to pick from when trying to change or guide a new behavior! 

Check back tomorrow for pictures and post on my little ones First Cowgirl Birthday! Yeehaw!!

1 comment:

  1. Good points! Ooooh can't wait to see pics of the party!!!!!!!!!!!



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