Counselor Family Engagement
Building Structure by Use of Incentives
For the New Year, let’s focus on creating new routines and positive behaviors. We have a new school schedule with an earlier start time of 7:50am and later end time of 1:00pm. As we prepare for the return of all students to a blended A/B learning schedule, we want to help you and your child(ren) have a successful transition. We hope you will find this information helpful.
Have you and your children ever decided on a new year’s resolution, but it fell through on the 2nd day? Creating an incentive program can help to modify you and your child’s behavior.
Key ingredients to building structure:
According to the CDC and PBIS World, Reasons To Use Incentives are:
● to encourage your child’s good behaviors
● to help increase self-esteem
● to improve your relationship with your child
● to increase motivation
● to help children set goals
● to provide visual and tangible rewards
Examples of Immediate Feedback to reinforce the positive behavior:
● Affection – includes hugs, kisses, a high five, a smile, a pat on the back, or an arm around the shoulder.
● Praise – Praise happens when parents say things like “Great job,” “Way to go,” or “Good boy/girl.” However, specific (or labeled) praise tells a child exactly what behavior you liked. Examples of labeled praise are: “Great job playing quietly while I was on the telephone!” “You were a great helper when you put all your toys in the closet today!”
Examples of Rewards or Incentives:
● Attention and Activities –Extra time with you or a special activity can be a powerful reward for young children. Some examples include playing a favorite game, reading a story, and helping with dinner. Other activities like going to the movies or the zoo can also be used, but these activities may not always be available or affordable.
Steps to Create an Incentive Program:
1. Identify the behavior you want to reinforce
Decide on a behavior or habit that you want to reinforce. Behavior should be positively phrased, instead of “not yelling when mad” to “counting to 10 to calm down.”
2. Decide on the incentive (see coupon sample)
The incentive should be something that your child wants to earn, it doesn’t need to be something big, it can be a sticker, hug, kiss, checkmark, coupon, something you come up with together with your child. Also, they do not have to be tangible rewards, they can include social rewards, praise, or attention and activities.
3. Explain the incentive program (chart samples)
Your child needs to know and understand what is expected of them in order to get their reward. Some people find that making a chart to track progress is helpful; you decide what works best for your family. At the beginning, you need to reward your child often. Over time, you can slowly reward less often. If you feel the behavior is mastered, you can move onto another behavior.
4. Slowly change the selected behavior or phase out the program
When you first start using a reward program, reward your child often. Over time, you will notice that your child is doing the right thing more and more often. You can stop rewarding the behavior and move on to rewarding a different behavior you would like your child to do more often.
Reward programs that use stickers, ink stamps, or check marks are less effective as children get older. For older children, the items used as rewards can be changed to tokens, such as marbles and chips that can be collected and redeemed for other rewards your child wants. For instance, if your older child earns 5 marbles for doing the selected behavior, he can get a reward like a trip to the park.
We would love to hear from you!
Sharing ideas is a great way to learn from others. It helps you decide on a system that works best for your family.
Take pictures and email photos of your coupons or other incentives to: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how your family did with your incentive program. Please remember that anything you submit may be posted on our school’s website.
If you are not able to print your own, blank copies of incentive coupons will be available by the drop off box in front of the cafeteria.