Discussions about child behavior, while valuable, can become generalizations about behavior change, rather than discussing the specifics about individualized tools to change behavior. It begs the question “what behavior change tools are out there?”
Tools to Change Behavior
When child behavior experts speak about changing behavior, often they lapse into a philosophical discussion about modifying behavior. At times these discussions, while valuable, can become generalizations about behavior change, rather than discussing the specifics about individualized tools to change behavior.
Many parents that I speak with "get" why behavior modification is important, they understand many of the principles involved, they recognize that there are healthy as well as unhealthy ways to go about it, and they can see how positive behavior change can benefit their children and themselves.
Sometimes when parents are searching for a solution for their child's bad or inappropriate behavior they can get so caught up in the various arguments and counterarguments about parenting methods, techniques and tips that you can almost hear them crying out:
"I just want to know what tools are out there to help me change my child's behavior?"
Effective tools to help change behavior
Any information and knowledge that can make you a better parent is fantastic, but sometimes parents have heard enough and just want a tangible product or tools for behavior change, that they can start using right away.
The tools and strategies for behavior change that I have used successfully with my children include reward charts, behavior contracts, token economy, sticker charts, lucky dip rewards, and "I Did It!" certificates. While I sell some of these fantastic ready-to-go products on this website, with a bit of creativity, materials and effort you can make your own easily enough. Or you can get some of our great free reward charts here.
You can check out the articles below for further ideas on tools to change behavior.
Fundamentally a Token Economy is a form of behavior modification whereby tokens are rewarded for appropriate behavior and the tokens may be cashed in for valued rewards. It can be a great way to improve behavior… positively!
Fundamentally reward charts for children are a tool for behavior management or behavior modification whereby a child is awarded stickers or other rewards for behaving well. Why are our reward charts unique and so powerfully effective?
A behavior contract can play a very effective role in any reward plan (along with reward charts and a token economy). They can be be a useful behavior modification tool when other methods aren’t working so well, and can give your child a sense of being involved in a serious, grown-up process.
Using chore charts not only allows for our kids to learn the responsibilities involved in running a household, it allows them to contribute to their fair share of the household chores and teaches them the importance of managing their own responsibilities
This alternative approach to using a kids reward chart relies not on the principle of earning stickers to achieve a desired reward, but rather on having the end reward in their grasp, and retaining or losing the reward based on how they choose to behave.
However, give it the best shot to make your reward chart work…be positive, committed, and let your kids see this. If you can change YOUR mindset (sometimes only slightly) then you might find that reward charts will give you the fantastic result you were wishing for.
Many argue that handing out kids rewards for either performing tasks that should otherwise be expected, or to get your kids to do something, is tantamount to bribery or even encourages materialism. Others strongly argue that offering rewards for kids to perform certain chores, to stop certain behaviors, or to encourage new and better behaviors, is an effective parenting tool.
Are reward charts fantastic?…Yes! Are they a cure all for all problem behaviors?…No!
An important element of successfully using reward charts for children is to have behavior change goals set in place BEFORE the reward chart has started. Find some useful example here.
Using reward charts to encourage behavior change in our children can be highly effective, but what if they stop working? Find out some reasons why and what you can do to get them back on track.
Used correctly a behavior contract acts as a “record” of what both parent and child have agreed to. If your child says “but you said…” pulling out the contract and referring to what actually WAS said can put an end to many arguments.