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Using a reward chart
Using a reward chart
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Munchkin has been challenging over the past few weeks. No surprise really as in the last 7 months we have turned her world upside down. First there was B2; suddenly there is competition for parental attention. Then, as she is getting used to that we start house hunting and put the only house she has ever known on the market (more of that in future posts) and then all her friends start school and she can’t see them very often. Add to that parental anxiety about house chains, family illness and ofsted and you have a perfect mix for 4 year old misbehaviour.

 

So, what do we do about it? Well in true Hill fashion we have a particularly awful couple of days then sit down calmly discuss and realise that we need to tackle one behaviour at a time rather than picking ob everything all the time. We need to give positive praise and finally and perhaps most importantly we need to manage our own tempers,

 

How is it that in a classroom I can be the picture of calm with even the most horrendous child. I can be cross and firm with no real emotion getting in the way and I can be in control, whereas at home with a 4 year old… OK, I know, there is an emotional tie, she’s a reflection of me, she knows how to push my buttons etc, but none the less I know what I should do and also how I often make things worse.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. none of this is to excuse her poor behaviour. She needs to learn what is and is not acceptable behaviour. She needs to start taking responsibility for some of her actions and she cannot be allowed to get away with poor behaviour. But by the same token, I need not to lose my temper, not to pick at every little behaviour and not to expect angelic behaviour all the time, no matter what.

 

So how are we moving past this blip? Well we are using a reward chart. No, sorry there us nothing truly new here. My reason for posting on this oft told solution to misbehaviour is that I am coming to the realisation that the reward chart works because it helps to moderate the behaviour of both parent and child.

 

We have two small pots of pasta. One pot starts the day with 20 pieces of dried pasta in. The other pot starts the day with 10 pieces of pasta in. Munchkin’s challenge is to move the 10 extra pieces of pasta into the pot with 20 pieces by “good, kind and helpful behaviours’. But she loses a piece of pasta each time she hits or hurts anyone. (I resisted putting all her ‘bad’ behaviours into the category and picked the one worst thing to work at.). If by the end of the day she has retained her 20 pieces she gets a sticker. If she has 30 she gets two stickers. This satisfies the need of a 4 year old to have immediate reward for her actions. The following morning at breakfast she is allowed one or two (depending on how many stickers she has) Pez sweets. This reminds her of the good behaviour the day before and the fact that it is rewarded.

 

So, that is how it is moderating Munchkin’s behaviour, now how about mine? Well to start off with it is making me give more praise. “Thank you for helping with the tidying/ putting on your shoes/ making B2 laugh”. It has also meant that I am not focusing on every small misdemeanour and therefore overloading Munchkin with criticism. It gives me consistency – Munckin knows what the penalty is. It also allows me to see the bigger picture and take a step back tfrom my own emotional responses.

 

So far the behaviour overall has been improved. Many behaviours have simply stopped as they don’t get the attention. Her levels of good behaviour have gone up and I have not had such shouty days!

 

 

2 Comments

  1. KatieNixon
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I am having similar problems in that my nearly 4 year old does not listen, which is frustrating to say the least. We also have a B2 who is ten months old so lots of change and added to that the start of school nursery. I also would like to have less shouty days and am going to endeavour to praise more and not nit-pick. I’d like some suggestions as to rewards as when we tried this before I spent quite a bit on toys and wanted something smaller/less expensive but not sweets. Any ideas?? I’d be very grateful. I like the idea of moving over the pasta. Do you count this when out too? Thanks, Katie

    • morethanamummy
      Posted October 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      We try to use the pasta wherever we are, so today she got one for sharing her crisps with her friends and one for leaving the park when asked and without fuss. We use small cheap rewards. We have stickers on her chart (1 for 20 pieces of pasta and 2 for 30) in the evening to reinforce the good behaviour (I have even covered the homemade reward chart in sellotape so the stickers are reusable!) And then in the morning to remind her and start the day well she has one or two (depending on how many stickers she got) tiny sweets. It is not the size of the reward, but the consistency which helps to moderate behaviour.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      Ruth

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