We’re well into a stage with our son where he tells us “no” when we ask him to do certain tasks. He’s very picky when it comes to eating and dinner can take two hours with him.
I can’t even begin to explain how awful bedtime can be.
I’ve been thinking of a behavior chart for a while. Lucas does well when he has goals and can see things for himself. At some point before the holidays, I reached my breaking point. During his dinner one evening (because my husband and I had finished eating over 30 minutes before this), I sat down and created a rewards chart.
The behaviors are simple. Dress yourself in the morning. Eat dinner without being asked 15 times to eat. Pick up toys. Go to bed (and stay there. One bathroom break is tolerable. Four breaks will not be tolerated.) And finally, STAY in bed the entire night. I was clearly running on broken sleep. In fact, that broken sleep hasn’t completely stopped. He still wakes in the middle of the night wondering if the cat is hiding in his room.
His rewards include time on the iPad, a movie out, a special trip (camping has been suggested), dinner out. My child loves eating out and he especially loves Asheville Pizza. If he earns enough points, he can pick out a toy. Before Christmas, he fought us every weekend for new toys. He still wants every toy, but understands now that he has to earn the points.
In the first two days he earned time on the iPad. Not too bad! By the end of the week, he had earned enough to go see the new Peanuts movie on a Friday night. (We were planning on taking him, but this gave us all more incentive.)
I’ve been explaining to him what privileges are and I think it’s starting to sink in. He can’t get what he wants every time he demands it. He can earn things though.
I also don’t think reward charts are for every child. He cried a lot the first night because he wasn’t quite clear on the concept. He wanted to earn points for taking a bath, brushing his teeth, washing his hands, reading books. At some point I plan on adding different ways he can earn points (trying a new food, for example.) This time, though, simple is better.
And if you’re interested in the chart I created, you can download it! I printed mine on plain paper, but then laminated it with my fantastic Scotch Thermal Laminator (<– affiliate link.) I finally had a use for my laminating machine!
Have you ever had to resort to a behavior/rewards system for your child? What has worked/not worked for you in the past?