Updated: Mar 14
I hear lots of parents who are going through a hard time with their little darlings and when you suggest a reward chart system they tell you "it doesn't work, I've tried it". I have to say, and this might upset some people, I don't agree with this. I find that usually it isn't the reward system that doesn't work, but the parents consistency to begin with.(Unless you are a parent of a child with special needs, then a reward chart may not work). If you usually give in anyway, there's no incentive to start with, so your child won't respond to rewards if they know they will get what they want eventually. If you are reading this and secretly thinking, 'that sounds like me', this doesn't mean hope is lost. It just means you're going to have to work a bit harder to show your child that you do mean business, that you won't back down, thus making them understand that the only way to get what they want is through rewards and incentives. After all, what teenager would turn down the washing up for a fiver? And we all know a toddler will do anything for a shiny star sticker. Rewards don't have to be charts, they can be stealthily included into your family in cunning ways that will ensure your child earns what they want, which means you will also get what you want.
As part of homeschooling, my children will need to work independently and without adult supervision for a small portion of the time. There's no way on earth I will manage my expectations of how this will go unless I introduce some incentives. My children need a reason to tidy up after themselves, not act like clowns and to try their best. The thing they love more than anything else in the world is their beloved iPads. So why not use this to my advantage? I've created iPad passports which means, if they have tried to be involved with their schooling, if they have behaved well and tidied up after themselves, they get an iPad passport to go and play on their little zombie screens. Your child might have a passion for LOL dolls or lego. Whatever it is, you can recreate what I have done using your own incentive.
I also want my kids to WANT to do well in the particular subjects we will be learning about. They are still at an age where they like getting certificates, so I've downloaded a free reward chart and have written into it the various things they can achieve stars for. This is a colouring in reward chart so they get to colour in their own stars and they really like doing this. It's great because you can tailor it to include anything you want. Here's the link.
And lastly, to encourage them to have a go at the S.T.E.M aspect of learning, I've printed off the challenge card competition sheet from the James Dyson Challenge cards pack (check out my Homeschooling Timetable Blog for info and the link) and if they manage to complete a section of challenges (science or engineering), I will buy them a pack of Fortnite trading cards for their trading album.
One thing I did realise when we started our day yesterday, was that there was lots of incentives but no consequences. I realised that I needed to include something else, if I didn't feel that enough effort had been put in, or for any other reason that meant I needed to enforce a consequence. So I introduced 'detention'. Now, I don't really want to call it that, but I haven't thought up a name yet. What this means is, they will have to stay behind after either their morning or afternoon day, to do another 20 minutes of work to finish what they didn't complete during the time they were given. I don't really want to take rewards away from them so we will go with this for now and I will see how it works!
The most important thing is, being able to stick to your guns. If for some reason you can't give them a reward, then be strong. Don't give in to them! You might be able to give them a 'second chance' to earn it, but the point is, it must be earned. It can't be given just to 'shut them up' or your system will fail. Good luck!