I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan of reward systems- like sticker charts- as a parenting device. I understand the appeal in a school setting because the teacher is dealing with a group of students instead of a one on one, parent and child relationship.
However, I have a child who reacts very favorably to a tangible reward, to physical evidence of positive reinforcement.
I work hard to follow her lead, to meet her where she is.
We are doing the sticker chart.
It kind of started with the school visit this week. The class has a "Wow Card" reward system set up. There is a thing on the wall and each child has a pocket. There are laminated green cards that say "WOW!!" When the teacher "catches" you making a good choice, she may instruct you to get a Wow Card and put it in your envelope. After so many Wow Cards, you get to put a sticker on this chart that also hangs on the wall. Once the chart is full, you get to pick a reward from the Treasure Chest.
This is a BIG DEAL.
Teagan watched very intently the 2 times I saw a child get a Wow Card. She turned and studied that whole set up a few times on her own.
She's got this thing about charts anyway. PBS' "Sid the Science Kid" did a thing about charts once and she likes to make charts from time to time now because of it.
As an answer to the ongoing saga of the bedtime stress, we now have a sticker chart.
Teagan can earn a sticker at our potentially difficult transition points- bedtime, getting dressed, getting out the door, dinnertime. And we also added having a good day full of good choices at Lisa's house. 5 sticker earning opportunities. And when she earns 5 stickers in a day, she gets to play the Wii for about 15 minutes after Zach goes to bed.
Day 1... she only got 4 stickers. Really bad day at Lisa's (which is rare). So what do I do with 4 stickers?? She ends up giving me the suggestion... she handled the knowledge that she wasn't going to achieve her 5 stickers really well. I reminded her that she could still earn her dinnertime sticker- and she asked about dessert. We aren't a dessert family so it's a "big deal" to have dessert.
So we have a reward system based on the number of stickers earned. 5 stickers, play the Wii. 4 stickers, small dessert (sherbet or jello). 3 stickers, quiet play time in your room before bed. Any less... no reward. Heck, even the 3 sticker thing might not get a reward some days... we'll see.
I'm playing this by ear and we will fix it when we find it to be broken.
I have to run. I need to seriously stock up on stickers.