Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rewards

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I'd discuss the rewards we're using in attempting to guide Kyra towards positive behaviors. During the initial potty training stages we used stickers as rewards for using the potty. It worked well for a while, but because she also gets sticker books as gifts, the novelty seemed to wear out quick for her. Back in April, after her time with daycare ended and she began to stay home with me, her potty training regressed a bit, most likely because of the changes in her schedule. That and she was probably a little upset at not seeing Lori, her daycare provider, on a regular basis anymore. Lori was, and still is, very close with Kyra. She stops by for visits and even volunteered to babysit Kyra for free so that they could hang out. Lori has a son that is slightly older than Kyra and Kyra loves him too.

Anyhow, back to rewards. We resorted to using candy for a short while. It worked, but we were doling out too much of it. We stopped, rather than risk tooth decay. Currently, for potty training we've switched to using a chart that tracks each day she hasn't had an accident. She puts a sticker on each day that she doesn't. At the end of 7 days of stickers in a row, she gets to pick a toy out of a bag full of dollar store toys we purchased as rewards. This has worked great. She hasn't had an accident since we started the program. She's also begun to show more of a tendency to use the potty at night. On her chart, we don't count wet pull-ups that were worn while sleeping. However, we give her praise for the times she's had a dry pull-up in the morning and used the potty at night. It seems to be working very well.

This past week, I began trying rewards that would be less cluttering (this kid really doesn't need more toys). I dug out a box from storage that had my toys in it from when I was a kid. I've now been rewarding positive behavior with allowing her some time with these "special" limited-availability toys. I put them back away after the playtime is over so she has to earn them again. It works. It also helps that I was a child of the 1970s and she's currently on a Star Wars kick (She currently sleeps with Star Wars McDonald's toys her Uncle Shawn gave her). So, she's thrilled when I pull out the old Star Wars action figures and the toy lightsaber my best friend Lance gave me as a gift back in the mid-1990s. I also have a toy that was given to me as a gag gift years ago. It's an electronic toy that looks like Frankenstein Monster's head. It talks and you can pull off pieces of it's facial anatomy in a variety of games. That too has been a reward hit.

Earlier in the week, while experimenting with getting Kyra to clean up her playroom by using fractions of the room rather than time increments, I tried another type of reward. After each quarter of the room was picked up, she was rewards with "dance time." I'd play a song on a CD and we'd dance crazy together. It was a hit. It wasn't the dancing to music itself, which she gets to do regularly anyway, it was the fact that daddy was there dancing with her. It was fun. I also got some cardio exercise out of it and it was another bonding experience. It's a total hit.

On a further note, Kyra's now dancing the "Time Warp" at times, even when there's no music to go with it.

5 comments:

Sue Flaska said...

You. Are. Awesome. That's it.

Tom G said...

Thanks! :)

thebonebreaker said...

Very Cool ~ You sound like a really Great Dad!

Curls said...

its just a jump to the left....

Flip Flops and Summertime said...

Great read! As a day care provider, I know that you have to get creative to get the kids motivated. We sometimes sing the Barney clean-up song while cleaning. Then we'll do the hands stacked-together-in-the-middle-of our-circle, shout the Wonder Pets theme "What's gonna work? Team work!" Then as we raise our hands, shout "Gooooo, Team!" Sounds silly, but kids love it!
Great blog!