How Reward System Can Help In Child’s Behavior
How Reward System Can Help In Child’s Behavior
Positive reinforcement systems have been used for decades by many parents and educators alike. This technique is “behavioral”, that is, it directly affects children’s behavior.
Opinions about the introduction of these systems vary a lot from person to person. Some will say that reinforcement systems work very well, others will doubt the result.
There are different types of rewards:
A reward is not just an object, candy or activity that your child likes, but it’s what will inspire you to learn.
- Drink, etc.
- Mom’s or dad’s attention, etc.
Favorite activities of the child (activities that the child spontaneously carries out often)
Example: go for a walk, listen to music, watch a DVD and go to the pool
Points, chips, money … that are saved and that can be exchanged for other reinforces according to a fixed rate known by the child. The chip saving system is adapted to each child.
Example: good points, stickers, stars, notes
How to choose a reward for my child?
- The rewards must be rewarding for your child. What may be perceived as a reward by one child may be perceived as a punishment by another.
- Use rewards appropriate to your child’s developmental age. Similarly, for a child, the rewards vary over time (for example, a 3-year-old likes to feed the animals but is not interested in it when he is 15)
- Use several types of rewards. They will thus retain all their value
- Look for the rewards that motivate your child. Observe the preferences, interests of your child. Make a list of the different rewards and offer them to your child. Note those he takes spontaneously, those he refuses to give those that do not attract his attention at all, those he rejects
- Select those who have their favors and create a box of rewards for learning. Be careful, this is not your child’s box; do not let him use it as he pleases!
- A reward does not always have to be something special. It can also be things your child can do, watch his favorite show, for example, or play on the computer. The difference is that you now clearly associate the desired behavior with the reward
- Start with material rewards (e.g., food, toys, comics) and then move on to social rewards (compliments like “Very Good”, an encouragement like “You’ll get it this time”)
- A surprise or something new is often perceived as pleasant by many children. This is not the case for kids with autism. They will sometimes have more fun with what they know, which is predictable
- In general, it is strongly recommended to use social rewards. To be able to use a social reward, your child needs to understand the reactions of the other person well enough. He must show enough interest in the other’s satisfaction with his behavior
How to use rewards?
- Only reward achievements, otherwise he will not be able to tell the difference between what is expected of him or not
- In the beginning, you must reward your child immediately after the desired behavior. He must be able to associate his behavior with a positive consequence. The reward is even more effective if it is applied in the second following the desired behavior
- Use the rewards that have the most impact on the behaviors that require the most effort from your child
- Also briefly name what your child did well so that he could relate his behavior to the reward. Avoid comments that are too long
- Never give the reward in advance.
- A reward, which is not given immediately after the desired behavior, loses its effect. People with autism, especially those with an intellectual disability, have difficulties in establishing the link between the behavior achieved and the reward given if a too long delay separates them. Reward your child as soon as possible
- The reward is to be used during learning; it is linked to a goal
- For example, if giving an inflatable ball helps Sebastian stack blocks, give him also in his free time, or else he will lose the effect of this reward
- If you observe that the reward no longer works, change the reward or vary regularly between several rewards
- The reward must be visible to your child without being immediately accessible (to prevent him from taking it himself before having done his activity).
- For example, place the reward in a transparent box, holding the reward in your hands or near your child’s height
- It’s not just the food rewards: going to mom’s arms, getting a scribble sheet, playing a few seconds with a bright or mechanical game, getting the image of a popular cartoon character are maybe more powerful incentives than his favorite cookie
- If your child only ‘reacts’ to food rewards: give small pieces, think about drinks, vary foods, do not plan a learning session after or just before the meal
- When a behavior is learned, continue learning while gradually decreasing the reward
How to avoid bargaining?
To avoid this pitfall, encourage the child to develop pride and motivation that comes from him, for example by asking him: “Are you proud of having managed to prepare yourself to go out?”Finally, remember that the motivational chart remains a tool among others. If this strategy does not work, it may be that this tool is not adequate or that the moment is not right to change this behavior.
The motivational chart can encourage a child over 3 to change certain behaviors.In addition to promoting self-esteem, this tool helps the child understand what his parents expect of him. The rewards associated with the motivation chart do not have to be monetary. Quality time with a parent or family is often the favorite reward for children.