Reinforcements part 2

Ok, back to the whole reinforcement thing. As I said, there are different kinds of reinforcements, and often times parents think of them as bribes. BUT there's a huge difference in the application of a reward/reinforcement vs. a bribe. A reinforcement is presented from the start. "If you pick up all of your crayons, you will earn a quarter!" A bribe is presented after the negative behavior, "If you stop crying, you can have an ice cream." We aren't bribed to work a job, we are rewarded with compensation. The same is true with rewards for good behavior.

There are different types of positive rewards. There's tangible rewards such as a candy or small toy. There's social rewards such as time with mommy/daddy, Praise,family game time, a family outing, swim time, etc. There's rewards that your child can "spend" such as points, tokens, stickers, and even money. The idea is your child can exchange this "spending" rewards for actual items like a candy, toy, movie, etc. There's extra time on the computer, TV time, food, etc. I won't bother with the definitions of each kind of reward, as that really doesn't matter a great deal. The important thing is to have a variety of rewards in place.

Trial and Error may come into play. Perhaps your child is motivated by M&Ms to eat her vegetables, but only motivated by extra TV time to clean up her toys. Maybe your child will eagerly do his homework for a quarter, but is motivated by extra swim time to put away his laundry. Each child is different, and the reward should match the activity. You can't expect a large behavior from a small reward, and you wouldn't reward a small behavior with a large reward. Weigh the reward with the behavior.

I'm going to include a printable worksheet for subscribers to use to help narrow down rewards they feel will work for them. Here's a sample of how to use the worksheet.

Date: 8/6/2017

Location: Home, downstairs

Behavior: Non compliance with clean up time.

Reward:  $1.00

How it was presented: "You will earn $1.00 for your savings bank if you help clean up today. Let's start with your crayons. Pick those up first. GREAT JOB! Here's a quarter so far. Now, let's get those books up, ok? AWESOME! You've already earned another quarter!"

Outcome: He whined at first, and complained the entire time, but ultimately he complied on the first request. He was happy with his dollar, and asked to do more chores to earn more money.

As you can see, I've mixed the rewards here. He's getting praise after each small accomplishment, and also earning a quarter to help keep the momentum going. At the end will earn the rest of the money. He's happy, and so am I. This works for us, but it may not work for everyone. That't why it is important to log the rewards and the outcome. 

We also earn points, and he can trade the points for apps on the iPad or for in app purchases. He's not always aware of the points ahead, as these are in a true reward fashion. If he's exceeded my expectations, in any capacity, I will tell him he's earned X amount of points. Now, Mr. B loves the extremes HAHA. So he may earn 500 points for going out of his way to help me. Or he may earn 1000 points if he's behaved exceptionally well on an outing. He can then trade 1000 points for .99 worth of app purchases. Now, points can also be fined. And if he behaves very poorly, he can lose points. This has worked VERY well for him to give him a visual of what is and isn't acceptable.

If you are a subscriber, you should find a new printable on the subscriber exclusives page. If you aren't a subscriber, then please sign up for our emails and you should receive a link that takes you to the page. Please check your spam filters if you don't see an email within 30 minutes or so.