A couple of week’s ago, I met with Ava’s school teacher to discuss a couple of my concerns. Mostly these were relating to how I go about encouraging Ava to form more female friendships as she mostly plays with boys and as a result is often on the receiving end of being hurt as they do play much rougher than the girls.
During the meeting, I mentioned to Ava’s teacher how feisty she was and as a result, how difficult it was at times to discipline her, mostly because she simply couldn’t care less. Her teacher suggested we try a star chart. I won’t lie, I was very skeptical. A star chart? Sticking stars on a piece of paper? Would Ava actually care, seen as she mostly didn’t seem to give a rats ass about any other form of punishment. But boy was I wrong.
The star chart works differently because instead of noticing and punishing bad behavior, we’re now more focused on and emphasizing the good behavior. Studies have shown that praising good behavior is far more effective than reprimanding children for their bad behavior. And of course, Ava is lapping up the praise and has become very focused on pleasing her teacher and pleasing us.
Her teacher has also been amazing and has worked with us on this, at the end of each day, she will either put a smiley face, a straight mouthed face or a sad face in Ava’s comm’s book. Ava knows that the receiving of a star when she gets home is linked to the face she gets from her teacher so she is very excited to get home every day and show me her comm’s book. So far, it’s been two weeks, she’s only received happy faces from her teacher and her teacher has commented that she’s astounded by the difference this has made, Ava now goes out of her way to earn that happy face and subsequent star. But bad behavior or a sad face will result in a star being peeled off the star chart, so far, Ava has not even ventured there, even the threat of pulling off a star is enough to make her willingly jump back in line.
There is also a physical reward at the end of the reward chart. Once Ava has received 10 stars, she gets to choose a reward for her good behavior. This weekend, she chose to bake cupcakes with me as her first reward.
She has asked to go to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens for a ride on the mini train and also for me to paint her fingernails as subsequent rewards. Yet again proving that her love language is definitely quality time, she doesn’t want things, she wants experiences with her family and her friends.
Here are a couple of great resources, for free reward chart printables and also additional information on star and reward charts to use for your kids: