We’ve just introduced a reward system. It’s a system where good behavior is rewarded. Like if I manage to get through an entire day without yelling at the kids, I reward myself with a large bowl of ice-cream. Ok scratch that, it’s a bad example because I reward myself with ice-cream even on bad days with lots of yelling.
I tried the sticker reward system a while back when the kids were younger but they didn’t really buy it. It went something like this.
“Kids, these are called reward stickers! Whenever you do something good, we’ll give you one sticker and when you get 3 stickers, you can exchange it for a treat,” I explained with my enthusiastic high-pitched voice. “Who wants stickers?”
They glanced at it and threw me a dismissive “No need thanks!”
“You sure? Look, these stickers are so pretty and they’ve even got your name on it. You can exchange it for gummies and potato chips.”
They were unimpressed. “Uh, no need.”
I couldn’t understand it, it seemed like such a great idea. Perhaps they didn’t understand the concept. Perhaps they didn’t like my specially printed pretty stickers. Perhaps they were actually surly teenagers wo didn’t care for stupid rewards. Whatever the case, my ingenious plan was failing miserably so I shelved the idea.
Recently, I was inspired to give it another go and for some reason, this time it turned out to be a massive hit. I basically said the same thing to them while waving the exact same stickers.
“Kids, these are called reward stickers! Whenever you do something good, we’ll give you one sticker and when you get 3 stickers, you can exchange it for a treat. Who wants stickers?”
“ME!!!! I WANT, I WANT,” they yelled in unison.
“Ok, let’s start by packing up your room. You’ll get one sticker each if you pack up your room really well.”
5 minutes later, I came back into the room and they were scrambling to pack everything into their toy boxes. When they finished packing, we held a reward ceremony and bestowed upon them a shiny new sticker each. It was the lamest reward ceremony ever but they looked so terribly pleased all the same.
That night, we tried it again.
“Guys, you’ll get a sticker if fall asleep on your own. Daddy and mommy will be right outside but you can’t get off the bed ok. If you do well, you’ll get a sticker in the morning.”
We walked out of the room and waited for the usual requests of water, milk, toilet breaks and bedtime stories but there were none. 5 minutes later, nothing. 10 minutes later, still nothing. Finally, we sneaked in after 15 minutes to check on them and they were fast asleep. On their own. For the first time.
Reward system = hell yeah!