Anyone else feeling the stress of a 4-5 year old? They’re kinda something else, aren’t they??
My little man does fantastic with positive reinforcement and rewards systems (what kid doesn’t, really?) but he gets easily bored after several weeks so I’m constantly having to change it up. But as long as the rewards are immediate he’s usually responsive to whatever rewards system we use. And since 4 year olds are easily amused, the rewards can be as simple as a ton of praise along with the help of a handy dandy hole punch that gives immediate gratification.
This is what’s making my days a little better. Go print some off if you’re feeling like you’re losing the battle or if it’s just time to switch up the method. I was in a little rut with my positive parenting (it’s hard to be “on” all the time with life stress, travel, etc., am I right, mamas?) but this has effortlessly brought us back on track.
Aidan carries around his card all day and I bring along my hole punch whereever we are so I don’t miss a chance to give him the positive reinforcement that he so very much needs during the run of the day. “Helping little brother get his buckle on in the cart? You must really like being a big brother! Bring me your card, baby!”
How brilliant and fun is this!?
Today was fantastic – Aidan received 11 hole punches. He needs A LOT of positive reinforcement so his deal is to fill up 4 full cards (since he’s 4) which he should manage to do by the end of the week with all his deeds.
- listening the first time
- brush teeth
- get dressed
- put shoes on
- get backpack for school
- not throwing sand at the park
- eat meals without complaining/whining/goofing around
- nice to little brother
- help little brother
- help mama do chores
- a good report from preschool teachers
- a good report from sunday school teachers
- going to bed nicely (worth 2 hole punches because that’s a major challenge for us right now)
- etc. etc.
So as you can see the “deeds” add up quickly throughout the day making it easy to fill up 4 cards in about 5 days time.
By the way – we use this for only positive. There is no taking away cards and no threats. Just gentle constant reminders to work hard for those hole punches to reach the goal (new superhero tee, movie date with mom or dad, a treat, a one on one activity, etc.). When the punches don’t happen for something big (like bedtime) I tell Aidan, “well…looks like today we didn’t fill up our card because we chose not to go to bed nicely today…let’s work REALLY hard to make it happen tomorrow” or something along those lines.
Anyhow, loving this and hopefully you’re find it as helpful as I am. If you print these off let me know how it works for your little ones! And a HUGE thanks to the ladies at eighteen 25 for coming up with the fabulous idea and free printable!