What? Did I just admit that I'm a parent who is constantly learning? I wasn't just born with this God-given gift of awesomeness?
Well, thank you but no. I learn something new or a new strategy or way of speaking to my child every day. Your children really do teach you something every day.
This summer we entered into an area of parenting I'm unfamiliar with, the one where my five-year-old son decides he is sixteen and brings more attitude and defiance with him than a gaggle of Disney princesses (interesting comparison I just did there).
This summer with Caderyn was fun, but also very exhausting. It felt like the second the fun stopped he was whining or arguing with me about something. When it came time to move down to Arizona I was ready for this kid's attitude to change.
The week before we left Helena, some good friends had my mom and I over for dinner and introduced us to their reward charts they were using for their kids. I liked how they were using positive reinforcement that was tangible for children. Office Depot sells these huge packs of reward charts that look like pirate maps and the stickers that go with them, so we bought a pack and have started using this chart to try and correct some behavior and encourage other behavior.
For example, the last three weeks were all about introducing the chart to Caderyn and getting him to understand what it meant. He gets the entire day to earn four stickers for his chart. During this day he : 1. Can't argue or say "No." 2. Must listen the first time he is asked to do something 3. Must be kind to his brother 4. Must brush his teeth. See example:
We kept everything very simple and uncomplicated.
So far so good with the charts. It was easy enough for Caderyn to comprehend and didn't overwhelm him. We kept it to those four things, three of which were actual behaviors I wanted to start modifying and one was to just improve on health.
It is very straight forward for Caderyn. If he loses a sticker, he loses a sticker and that sets him back from getting a reward. Once he fills up a card he gets a reward. For example, he just filled up his first card this last week. His reward was choosing something for the family to do together. We went to Peter Piper Pizza on Friday. I won 1,000 tickets. Oh yeah.
He is now working on his second card and the thing we've changed for him to focus on is that in the #4 slot we have him practicing reading every night. See example:
Sure he has moments where he loses stickers. On Friday he only got 2 out of the four stickers, but he learns and usually all I have to say is "Do you want to lose a sticker?" and he gets right back on track.
So there's my little parent enlightenment for you on this fiiiiine Monday.
**Also, I need to give a quick shout out and thank you to Janine L. for introducing us to these charts and the idea. Thanks Lady! I miss you!**