With primary schools breaking up for the summer over the next few days, now is the perfect time to put some thought into how you’re going to keep the kids entertained at home. The summer break is a source of great excitement for kids, but can also be a challenging time for parents. When children are spending all day every day at home together, this can sometimes lead to arguments and fighting as they find themselves becoming a little bit bored and restless.
We all know how tricky it can be to encourage our kids to change their behaviour. Especially if we’re trying to avoid giving in and using sweet treats and toys as a quick and easy bargaining tool. But the summer holidays are a perfect time to focus on some projects that your kids can work on throughout the summer. This list could include things such as tidying their room, reading a certain number of books or even sharing with their siblings.
We spoke to Emma Parkin, editor of Easy Parenting magazine, about reward charts, a fun and motivational way of giving children encouragement and way to support good behaviour at home this summer. They’re also a great visual reminder for kids on how their actions can have a positive effect. By rewarding good behaviour at home, we’re more likely to encourage our kids to keep it up and form lasting habits.
How they work:
Reward charts focus on positive behaviour that we want our children to work on. This can be something simple, like making sure to say please and thank you, doing as they’re told throughout the day, or even washing their hands after they go to the toilet, for example.
Your child’s reward chart and their assigned projects should be unique. It can focus on a singular positive behaviour at a time, or it can encompass multiple tasks to be worked on at home.
Sit down with your child and explain to them, the importance of that behaviour and also make sure that they know that he or she will receive a reward once their chart is complete. You can use stickers or simply draw a smiley face or tick mark on your child’s chart, each time they complete their positive behaviour, with the reward clearly marked with a winning star. You should place the reward chart at home, on the fridge or perhaps on your child’s bedroom door, somewhere they can check it themselves.
Childcare expert Natalie Collier from Easy Parenting Magazine reminds us that children love praise. The more praise and encouragement they receive on completing an activity or behaviour, the more likely they are to succeed the next time.
Natalie also advises not to give out to children or to take rewards away from them. She reminds us to always focus on the positives, encouraging children no matter what. And, it’s also important to always make sure our children feel comfortable and confident that they’re doing the best they can.
Rewards, when used alongside verbal encouragement, are a powerful way of stimulating good behaviour.
Despite what we might think, rewards don’t necessarily have to be a new toy or a sweet treat. Emma suggests letting our kids choose at home activities over the summer holidays, that influence their days - what they want for dinner, what family activity we take part in over the weekend, or even what film we watch on movie night, are some easy examples. She also advises to switch up the rewards over a number of weeks to keep our kids from getting bored.
Let us know what behaviours you are encouraging at home this summer, and if you have previously used reward charts as a means of encouragement.
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