Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coin Chart Experience Update: Two Months

Well we started the Coins back in early October and we have had an interesting run with it.  It really has been a nice addition to our parenting style though some days it simply doesn't work.  Obviously you can't expect a pure miracle to take the TWO out of a two-year-old so I take those days as my "thank you for working all those other days!" reaction while I curl up in a ball and wonder how other parents survive the two+ years of nonstop toddler crazies.

In case you don't recall, each row has 10 spaces for stickers and when that row is full she earns her goal/prize.  This requires 10 days of good behaviors and listening skills that kept or earned back her 6 coins before the end of the night.  (Find the whole system here.)  That really isn't easy for a toddler many days because the closer you are to bedtime, the more tired they are, the more likely they are to misbehave and lose a coin rather than earn one...Of course being the age she is we also stack the deck in her favor a bit by loading the end of the day with opportunities to help us with 'chores' that will give her ample chances to earn any lost coins before bedtime.  Eventually these things will simply become expected (cleaning up toys will not be a red light/green light game anymore, going to her room for storytime before bed without being carried in there will not be praised quite so vehemently, etc.) and her coin earning will become more difficult but for now, this is helping reinforce what behaviors we approve and applaud and those that are unacceptable.

That picture shows how good a toddler typically is when motivated by the right system.  Now your toddler's "right system" is likely to be different than ours and it took some trial and error to adapt this chart into our lifestyle to the best of its uses.  Consider:  October 4th (roughly based on Facebook picture dates) we started the Coins.  November 27th she earned that last sticker shown (there is another one now).  In less than two months (55 days), she earned 41 stickers.  The roughest stretch was actually during the 3rd goal because we were pulling some of the extra help that we'd been giving her and she was trying to test our system's strength and boundaries.

The weakest point in this method for us:  bedtime.  The sticker has been given and the day is over.  Bedtime is hard to incorporate into the method for us because she needs that immediate sensation of loss to reinforce the 6 coin loss.  Taking her cartoons away the next day over bedtime fits doesn't work because she doesn't seem to put the two actions together.  For now, at least until she starts to grasp the delayed reward/consequence concepts, bedtime is its own entity outside the realm of Coins.  Naptime has improved quite a bit though with the use of Coins because the afternoon without shows is just torture!

The biggest pro to this method thus far is honestly that Momma has a visual reminder during the rough moments of just how amazingly good her stubborn toddler really is (in that overall sense) and it gives me that mental step-back-and-breathe moment to grasp my remaining bits of patience and sew them together until Papa gets home.  Some days you just need to have that reminder that "she is a good kid, she is a good kid, she is a GOOD KID" and this chart with all of its successes displayed so prominently has given me that in a very concrete way.

I highly recommend this system to anyone who thinks it might help even a little!  If you have older children, consider the monetary version (find all the versions laid out here) and use it as a math and money teaching tool too!  And if you come up with any little tricks or changes that work better for you--AWESOME, please share them with me and with the original blogger!  We can always use some more ideas on how to fine tune the Coins in our homes too.

No comments:

Post a Comment