Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The "Treasure Box"

Today I made an impulse buy. I went out, I think for the first time on my own since having Lynae, and went to Target. I needed a few things here and there then planned on lunch with Michael.

But the past few days I've been trying to think of the 'next thing' to do as far as behavior management and modification at our house. I know that we need something in place aside from just consequences for inappropriate behaviors so that some sort of 'reward' is given for good behavior as well and we haven't been really good at doing that. Mostly because some of the behaviors we're seeing that are 'bad' are things like being greedy and overly hyper. So giving physical prizes or 'treat' incentives haven't sounded like a good idea. We also weren't being super consistent with the positive things. We have been with the negative consequences though...

So I decided this morning that we are doing a physical incentive at the house. I was going to buy some 'charts' for stickers ($1 for 36 individual charts and $1 for 300+ stickers) and some assorted items to put in a 'treasure box' similar to what they do at school. After all, Kristopher seems to be thrilled by getting to go to treasure box and get a 'prize', so maybe it will work at home too?? And let's not kid ourselves, 90% of the reason we need this is for Kristopher. Brianna a little as well, but Emma and Micah- though we'll do it with them as well- could really not care any less about a treasure box, a sticker, a chart, or anything like that... yet. But we'll still use it for them as well for consistency.

I lucked out :) I found simple stories of Elmo, Sesame Street coloring and activity books, tiny board books, tape measurer that has a plastic retractable tape, Star Wars small notebook, 6-pack of Star Wars "push pencils", Star Wars magnets, sheet of holographic Star Wars stickers, a 'squishy' ball that we've been trying to buy to help Micah with sensory stuff, and animals that have buttons to make their sounds... all $1 each!

Not only that, but my sister, Elizabeth, left us a bag full of Happy Meal toys when she was here. Those will be the 'toys' we add to the treasure box. And lastly, some activity incentives will go in there as well. A movie with mom or dad after bedtime, a 'date' for a frosty with a parent, or a surprise outing with both parents. All in all... a nice assortment of all kinds of prizes that are appropriate for all the different 'levels' that the kids are at. And I won't have to restock this bin for a LONG time.

Now, how to do the incentives?? I keep going back and forth on it. Do I want to have all the kids need the same # of stickers to get a prize? Should they be different amounts? Should they have to have a certain # by a specific day of the week and always do it for everyone (that earned it) together, or should it be as soon as they earn a certain # then get the prize right then? Still working on that.

With Kristopher we want to encourage the idea that being good at school is important. Though there's already a reward system at school, and we will not give him a negative consequence other than practicing the 'good' skill needed to overcome whatever difficulty he's having at school, I do think that a GOOD day at school could be rewarded at home. Remembering not to talk back or argue his point when he's gotten a firm answer... another area we're working on. And being considerate of his siblings during playtime. So somehow we'll work those in.

For Brianna we're working on not sitting down and laughing when we're walking places in the house with her (she doesn't do it in public tho thankfully!). We're also working on potty training, so maybe we'll roll that in, tho it depends more on US than her some days. And we're working on her listening to instructions and not saying "no" with a smile and walking away :)

Micah... and Emma... let's face it, they have "goals" but they don't understand the reward of a sticker on a paper or a toy or book being the result of good behavior. So I'm not sure how to do that yet. Would love any suggestions about that though-- since I do want to include them in this!!

What kind of positive reinforcement do you use at home? Is it more formal or informal? Do you do it different for your kids or the same for everyone?


  1. Aww...you mean you make Brianna do something even if she says no with a cute face?? Isn't that a get out of jail free card?? That seems to be what my 2 year old niece thinks. :)
    What about puppy dog eyes and a pouched out lip?? Would that allow her get away with it?? That's what my 6 year old niece trys.
    I don't have any suggestons for the rewards or anything (I'm an aunt...it's pretty much all rewards all the time:) ) but I just thought it was funny that Brianna trys to get away with things with a smile. Is there a kid book or something?? Even the neighbor kid won't say hi when prompted...just a very cute smile and a sing song no. :)

  2. Bribery...I mean POSITIVE reinforcement always works!For me anyway LOL! What is Kristopher's love language? Things only work for O but for my two boys who's love language is quality time and physical touch I have to play Mario Cart Wii while being next to them for their reward...

  3. I'm trying something with my kids at school that may help...

    they each have a laminated manilla folder with 15 boxes on it. each time we "catch" them being good (following rules, listening the first time, etc.), they get a smiley face. With an empty chart, they pick their reward activity. One kid's reward choices are: shredding paper in the guidance office, playing on the computer, taking a walk, going to the school store or listening to music. At 15 smiley faces they immediately are reinforced with their chosen activity (well, as soon as their current task is finished). The immediate reinforcement is necessary with my kiddos (currently), but I'm hoping not always!

    good luck :)

  4. We have a point system. They get points for good manners, taking initiative, acts of kindness, etc. They also get points taken away if they forget good manners, or have stinky attitudes. I am coming up with a list of ways they can spend their points. We, too, will have a treaure box, or for so many points they can have a sleepover, special time with mommy or daddy, movie night (at home where they can choose the movie and snack), and various other things. It works well for us!