The Token System

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm sure that all people with kids have discovered there are things our children just don't want to do or need help accomplishing. For my two little boys they are very separate but equally important things. Avery gives issue with eating dinner every night unless it's a "junk night" of pizza, chicken fingers or something like that. Aidan is mischievous and sometimes gets jealous of his brothers so he needs encouragement to be "caught being good".

Having a background in behavior modification, I pulled out some old but familiar words- "The token system". My solution for these daily battles was to come up with charts for both boys which would have them working towards a specific goal and being rewarded along the way.

Avery has a dinner chart- if he eats the designated amount of food each night, he can place a sticker on his chart and earns his preferred stuffed animal for bedtime snuggles. After a week of earning all of his stickers, he can go to the Dollar Tree to pick out a toy.

Aidan has a good boy chart- he tries to earn 7 stickers a day- which can be achieved by sharing with his brothers, using kind words, helping with household tasks such as setting the table, etc. If he earns all 7 stickers, he gets chocolate milk with his dinner and after a week he too can go to the Dollar Tree and choose a reward.

We've been at this for 6 weeks now and between them, we've been to the Dollar Tree 10 times. Aidan has earned his trip every week without fail, Avery has only been 4 of the 6 times, but he's progressing beautifully. Originally he only earned the sticker each night and then the trip once a week. We discovered it was just too difficult for a 4 year old to wait a week to see the results of his good eating habits, and since Aidan was getting the chocolate milk and the trip to the store, we decided to add "Puppy" into the equation. After a couple of nights of Puppy sleeping in Mom and Papa's room, Avery caught on and has been earning his stickers every night since!

There is also far less fighting between the boys and I've learned that Aidan loves to help me with daily routine stuff- his favorite is helping me make the lunches for school!

If you've got any clever ideas for getting your kids to do less than desirable things, I'd love to hear from you!


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