Behaviour modification: Rewards programme

The principles to be borne in mind are - Read in conjunction with article on using Ignoring

  • All of the above has to be negotiated and mutually agreed between parent/s and child.
  • Points / items on wish list / things to do or not do that are mentioned above are only examples. Parents will need to work out the same for their child based on their child’s need.
  • In general it helps to explain child that life is about give and take. One has to do something to get something. This is true for all businesses / industries as most ask employees to achieve targets. On getting to the targets one gets paid a salary / bonuses, if not, you may get sacked.
  • Some items on wish list can be costly. As a general rule, it will be useful to think in terms of how reward points for supermarkets such as Tesco work. To get vouchers worth £10, you need 1000 points. So to get something worth £20, a child has to accumulate 2000 points. This may seem too much for the child. You may hence want to be flexible and at times allow them to have a particular item for less. Also demonstrate to the child though 2000 pints seem a lot, she/he could get there quickly as up to 100 points (based on above example) could be earned per day if they chose to.   Remind child that to get costlier things they may want to use points more carefully (i.e. save some).
  • Be creative – you can set weekly targets or give surprise bonus points (50-100) for doing very well in a given week.
  • Keep an A4 diary to maintain weekly charts records
  • Get school involved if need be (so child can earn separate points at school as well).
  • Bring charts for follow up visits to the clinic.
  • For younger children, use stars instead of coins or bring plastic coins and a piggy bank (helps inculcate a habit of saving).
  • Enter points earned per day at the end of each day and make yourselves available ½ - 1 hour each weekend to sit with child and discuss chart and what they wish to do with the points. However, younger children may need immediate gratification and might not be able to wait for the goodies until the end of the week.
  • Remember to praise generously for all positive behaviours.
  • Ignore negative behaviours of the child. Shouting, screaming etc are forms of negative attention and the child could learn to seek it if it does not get enough of positive attention.
Download sample and blank reward programme sheets below