As reported yesterday, this is the week Miles’s defiance has risen to heights tall enough to warrant a strict restructuring of behavior expectations. Thanks to my day job, I have a lot of experience with behavior plans, and I can tell you two things that are universally true. One, kids love stickers. Two — and this is the most important — every kid has a currency.
As adults, we get up and endure work day after day because we value money. Our currency is literal currency. For kids, this can be a little more amorphous. Maybe one kid really likes potato chips. Another kid might want Pokemon cards. Some weirdos want gift cards to Home Depot (I am not making this up). The point is every kid wants something*.
I don’t even need to ask Miles what he values; he wears his primary interests on his sleeve. Regular readers of this blog could probably figure out a few of the things that would function well as “currency” for him. TV time (this works for 75% of all kids). Family Movie Nights. Bojangles. Ice cream. All of these have now been worked into Miles’s reward structure.
Just as important as having a clearly defined reward structure is implementing a behavior plan in an easily understood and consistent way (consistency is of UTMOST importance). With this in mind, I drafted a sticker chart for Miles.
He fulfills one of the fields on a given day, he earns a sticker. If he doesn’t earn a particular sticker, it isn’t the end of the world; rewards are tiered, beginning at 15 total stickers for the week. However, if he wants the ultimate prize — a trip to the ice cream shop — he has to earn all 25 stickers.
I’m actually sort of excited to get this going? Like, parenting is a wonderful experience and all, but I am especially excited to teach this kid about earning his shit.
*There are the occasional children who don’t want anything. This is how you can identify the ones who only want to see the world burn.