Monday, December 17, 2012

The Reward Board!

File this under gentle parenting: I recently made Isabelle a Reward Board.  This is a positive reinforcement tool my Mom implemented for my younger sister growing up, another very goal oriented young lady - currently working her tail off in law school.  I never really jumped on board with the reward system, as I was very much a child with my head in the clouds, never focusing on one thing for very long. (Truthfully, not much has changed).

With the goal in mind to keep it simple enough for a 2 year old to understand, I began my search for construction materials at our local craft store.  I didn't have my mind set on what I wanted the board to look like until I started stumbling onto things I knew would catch her eye.  From there I started to form a more solid concept.

Basically it's a large metallic cookie sheet I had Corey drill two holes in and hang a chain on.  I found everything else in the scrap booking section of Micheal's.  Anything glitter, Mickey Mouse, and Disney princesses (mainly Cinderella and Belle) are her preferred subjects.  All of the paper is very thick scrap booking card stock.  The metallic style letters are stickers and were just in a sleeve containing the whole alphabet.  I found the thicker cardboard Disney characters and decided they would make great cheerleaders for her "reward area".  Everything except for the stars I glued directly in place.  The gold "reward stars" are cut from the same type of scrap booking card stock and I put them on magnetic paper that has an adhesive side.

How it works:
For any thoughtful, cooperative, kind, polite, or helpful behavior, she gets to move 1 star over to the reward area. Today we focused on her sitting down and eating the food that was prepared for her.  Normally, a very finicky eater, meal time can be a battle, but not today!  Today, she was told that if she ate at the table at her mealtimes and ate what Mama had prepared, we would move a gold star.  She gobbled up every single crumb and raced to the reward board afterward.

A star cannot be revoked.  This is my peaceful parenting stance on the reward board.  She earned her stars and to threaten to take away her rewards after she put forth effort to earn them is counter productive to what my overall goal is.  The overall goal being, if you are cooperative and kind it is reinforced with positive affirmation and praise....and stickers.

For each star at the end of the day she gets a sticker after dinner.  *Side note: remind me to buy stock in stickers.*

This picture was taken tonight right after moving her third star for behaving so wonderfully and eating her dinner.  She was so proud of her accomplishment and eager to earn another star.  As you can see she's pretty darn proud of her stickers too!

So far I am thrilled with the enthusiasm she is showing about the Reward Board.  I am so proud of how quickly she grasped the concept as well.  If this is a tool that holds her interest for a while we can expand it to other things.  But for now it's working wonderfully and I couldn't be happier with how much she's enjoying it!

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