Has your 3 year old ever scaled the front of the fridge to the top? Figured out how to reach her window locks, unlock them, kick out the screen, strip her clothes and sit on the window ledge butt-naked? Has your child ever grabbed on to a closing garage door only to hit the sensors and send the door back up while still holding on, taking a ride clear to the top?
I am not necessarily saying that I have, but I might know a thing or two about that...
So, I've decided it's high time for some type of behavior/reward chart. Something a little more formalized that can offer up a positive rather than a negative, and more importantly reinforce a good behavior. I have spent a GREAT deal of time thinking about behaviors and charts. I made a mini reward chart but I never put it into play, I wasn't convinced it was going to be even mildly effective. It was boring and too "charty." My piano students use a printout I gave them of a gumball machine. Each time they practice they color a gumball and for so many colored a prize! How fun would that be for my 3 year old?!? I thought awesome at first, until I realized she doesn't ever get gum and that she'd just ask for it if I gave this sheet to her. Back to the drawing board.... I've got it, she LOVES castles and princesses. So I grabbed some old scrapbooking paper and created a castle. The castle is several pieces. Each time for her reward she gets a piece of her princess castle to build on her wall. This way building the castle is a huge fun, reward itself. From time to time there she may find a princess sticker on her piece which would indicate a bonus prize from the prize stash. My prize stash consists of things like: cheap painting kits from the craft store, ring pops, balloons, just anything a 3 year old would want that's cheap.
Now for the behavior part.
I have selected 4 behaviors to emphasize on the next few weeks while building the castle. More than 4 things for a 3 year old is probably a little too controlling and not realistic for a 3 year old, keep it simple. After spending a few weeks on these four, I will select a some new ones. The behaviors this time round are:
-Complete a 30 minute quiet time
-Clean up bedroom
-Eat a meal well (this means no getting up, running around, and simply eating)
-Going to bed on time (this is a major disaster every night now that it's summer)
Here's some helpful links:
Good advice on making a reward chart
Great ideas (especially for an older child)
Here are some not-so fab pics of our castle.