Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a means of reinforcing good behaviors to alter bad behavior. This method has been highly successful in assisting children with special needs (such as Autism) to improve their social behaviors but is also used in a variety of other situations.
Sounds like a lot of scientific fodder but what it boils down to is this… You catch your kids being good and give them a reward.
In our family, it works like this:
- I created special tickets and laminated them. (You can download these tickets or just purchase a roll of carnival tickets.)
- When the children are obedient, act well in public, do a chore without being begged, show kindness or respect spontaneously, do a good job cleaning their rooms, etc. they are rewarded with a ticket. We try to give at least three opportunities for the children to earn a ticket each day. Occasionally, we will offer tickets as a reward in advance for a cleaned room or a nap without fussing.
- The children earn the tickets and store them in an envelope (out of reach to keep them from being misplaced).
- When they have enough tickets, they get to go to Mommy and Daddy’s Store.
Our store is nothing special. I walked through the toy store and thought about things that would motivate our children. (It helped that all of these items were on sale or I had a coupon.) They all love Super Mario Brothers and had previously asked for t-shirts with Mario or Princess Peach. We have Leapster Tag Reading Systems and they love new books to go with their reading pens. I also picked up a Leapster game and some Crayola Color Wonder sets.
Each item is given a price tag (download here for free) and the children have to decide what to “buy” with their tickets. They can save up for something big or spend on what they can afford right away, which also teaches them money management skills for later in life.
If you do not want to spend a lot of money on your store, you can always have items that do not cost much like:
- Your favorite dinner
- Time alone with Mommy
- Time alone with Daddy
- A campout in the backyard
- A picnic at the beach
- A trip to the park
- Stay up and extra 20 minutes
- Rent a movie
- Have a sleepover
- Order pizza
- Go to the Dollar Store with $5 to spend
- Make cookies
- Have a special snack
Think about what your child would REALLY want. Use that as your… ahem… bait.
If you try this, I would really like to know how it works for you.
Free Diligence Lesson
Subscribe and receive my free diligence lesson plan with printable wall pages by email.