Everyone knows how important it is to instil good habits in children. However, it’s not always an easy task. While a good dressing down might seem to be the most appropriate (and effective!) method to deal with bad attitudes and behaviour, some believe that this is not the best way to resolve such issues. Scolding is a form of negative reinforcement and, in such situations, precisely the opposite might be better. A reward chart is a great tool for parents who believe in positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement and the reward chart
Positive reinforcement is a theory that we should ignore children’s bad behaviour and focus all our attention on what they do well, on their efforts and achievements, so that they feel motivated to repeat positive behaviour.
But how do we go from theory to practice? Simple! One of the easiest ways for parents to encourage good behaviour in their children is through a reward chart.
This weekly or monthly chart can be drawn up at home with the kids. It is made up of several columns and rows: on one side are the goals to be achieved during the week/month; on the other, ticks that indicate whether the goals have been achieved. Ideally, the table should be accessible to the children so they can follow their progress and mark their success. After a previously negotiated number of ticks has been achieved, there is a reward for the effort, which should also be defined at the outset. The idea is that this reward keeps kids motivated and willing to reach more goals.
But beware! Rewards should not always be material and should be suited to the different ages, interests and motivations of the child, which change over time. It is important to stimulate them with different things and to remember that what interests one child may not interest another.
It may sound complicated, but we promise it’s not. To help, here is a reward table that each parent can adapt to their own circumstances and, of course, to their kids.