Reward Charts, Discipline And Making The Right Choices

If you haven’t seen on my Instagram yet, the latest news for our family is we are finally expecting a child after a very long journey. I plan on writing up a full post about the first trimester and sharing some thoughts about the whole experience, but for now this blog article is about an entirely different subject. Reward charts and discipline. 

My little boy is now six years old, and he is thriving and loving life. Just as he should be. However, these last few weeks and months I have begun to notice a shift in his behaviour. He was pushing buttons and testing boundaries, he was ignoring warnings and just doing what he wanted. I’d shout, I’d threaten punishment, but the truth is, this didn’t even phase him. Why? Because he knew I wouldn’t follow through. 

Changes needed to be made

A while ago we took Logan to the doctors because we found that he was developing certain tendencies and twitches in his behaviour at home. The doctors advised us that he had what she described as a “Type A Personality” and that he thrives off praise and being told he is doing well. It made sense once we thought about it as we knew he loved to hear he had done well and and continued to do something just to hear that praise. 

We realised that negative language didn’t work well with Logan, and that he was more in tune with positivity. So we changed the way we dealt with things, and for a while it worked. But the main issue specifically lay with me, I was too soft. 

I will admit that I am the type of mum that likes an easy life. It’s a busy day anyway, and if I can get things done quickly, avoid confrontation and arguments swiftly, then I will, just to get through the day. However, the problem with that was Logan realised that he could get me to do anything, and that really he was never told off for doing naughty things. 

Things need to improve

With a baby coming next year, I realised that things needed to change, and so I got thinking, chatting to friends and family, about ways that I can encourage better behaviour, a nicer environment at home and more independence from Logan. So I came up with a few methods and to be totally honest with you all, they are working. I thought I would share with you what I have been doing but do check out my Instagram page and also IGTV for a video discussing this in more detail.

REWARDS CHART

To be honest I have tried a reward charts in the past and they have given me varied results. They worked well, but not as well as I had hoped. I realised that I may have been over complicating them in the past, so I tried a more simple approach. At Logans school, they use a reward charts system and give out “dojo’s” for good work and behaviour, the difference is the teacher decides what is worthy of a Dojo. So I applied the same principal with gold stars at home.

There are many things he can get a gold star for. Eating his meals, getting dressed himself, good behaviour, kindness etc. At the end of the day myself and his Papa will chat with him and decide how many he has earned that day and what for. We may even highlight it at the time if we think something was worth a gold star. His aim is to get to twenty stars on his reward charts and he earns himself a prize. He’s loved this, and is already working out what he can do to earn more gold stars and his behaviour has improved. 

DISCIPLINE

There are a couple of things that I have changed when it comes to discipline. I usually would get to a stage where I would shout, which didn’t leave me feeling good or actually make any difference with his behaviour. Sometimes I would threaten things like taking an iPad away etc and then never following through with it. It was doing me no favours really. So having chatted to friends and family, I decided to try out one technique. 

If Logan is doing something wrong, I would give him a warning. If he continues then the punishment would be thirty minutes of no technology. The TV goes off, he can’t use any of his devices, nothing. He can play with his normal toys, he can do his homework, and read etc. But tech is a no go. This actually felt like it could be a punishment for me as well as Logan, as the TV is always on in our house. Guilty!

Surprising results 

However, it wasn’t so bad when I did actually have to follow through. He moaned a bit, but then he just got on with it. The thing is, since that one occasion I haven’t had to do it again. The warning seems to be enough at the minute. 

We will also take away gold stars from his chart if he misbehaves. So we do have the choice between the two options. I guess it depends on exactly what he is doing to govern the type of punishment or discipline he will get. 

In conclusion

Overall these things have helped our home life and routine, and also improved Logans behaviour. He will always be an energetic lad. The one thing I have realised is that all children are different, and that not every child is angelic and as well-behaved as I once thought. It’s good to talk. Because let’s face it, motherhood can be lonely at times. 

Let me know what systems work for you in your household. 

Attendance Awards In School: Is It Right?

My little boy has just finished Year One. We are all set and ready for a fantastic summer holidays and preparing as much as we can for Year Two. I am well aware that this next school year is going to be a tough one for Logan. With SATs and extra milestones he needs to reach I’m going to have to help him at home as well. Hopefully to ensure that he isn’t falling behind or losing the enthusiasm he has for school simply because he is struggling and not enjoying it. School have a lot to focus on. With targets and levels they need to meet I understand they are under pressure to get the results, and attendance is one of the areas that they need to get to a certain level.  Our school encourages classes to have at least 97% attendance each week. So I am guessing that this could be around the target in which they need to meet.

Praising attendance

Each week our school has an assembly, and every year is given their percentage for attendance, and the kids love it. They all want to reach that 100% goal and earn a badge for their year. This is great encouragement, and attendance in school is extremely important. But, there is one thing that seems to be a big trend amongst schools these days, and that is awarding children individually for 100% attendance.

I don’t agree with it. 

There will always be times in your child’s school life when they are unwell. They don’t ask for it, they certainly don’t enjoy being ill. In many cases, our school included, if a child is ill then you are encouraged to keep them off school. This avoids the illness spreading and causing further absences. There was a prime example earlier this year, our school was hit with the vomiting bug, bad! At least 40% of the school was effected and because of this we were advised to keep out children off school. Until a full 48 hours had passed since the last sickness. My son ended up with it, in fact we all did, and it was pretty horrific!

We didn’t manage it

My son didn’t get 100% attendance this year, he ended up on 97%. The percentage in which our school aims for. He wasn’t rewarded for that, I don’t expect him to be, but why should a child be rewarded for 100% just because in-theory they were lucky to not have to experience the illness?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think attendance in school is extremely important. But it is down to your own parental opinion. Some people are happy to take their child out of school and have unauthorised absences for one reason or another. This isn’t about judgement. It may even Be worth it to take my son out of school in the future. But I don’t think that awarding children for 100% attendance is the right way to go? At this rate, children who become aware of the award system will push themselves to go into school when they aren’t well, and they may even get worked up and upset because they have had to have a day off. Is that really fair on them and their mental wellbeing?

In conclusion

Award systems work well in most scenarios, and even with attendance I think it can be a good motivator, but I don’t think 100% should be the target, it should be awarded for the school reaching their target.

What do you think about attendance awards in school? Do you think they work? I would love to know your thoughts.