Reward charts are a fantastic positive parenting tool for encouraging the behaviour you want from your children. Whether it’s helping out around the house, being polite or using the potty, a reward chart is a great option for focusing your child’s mind on the right behaviour and motivating them to do it.
Reward charts work best when the target behaviour is clearly defined, when the rewards are achievable and when your child actually wants the rewards. Breaking habits takes effort – from both you and your child – and reward charts work best when both of you are fully on board.
Here’s a few tips to help you get the maximum effect out of using a reward chart. Continue reading →
One of my teenagers is a bit of a grump at the moment. Put it down to hormones or identity struggles, whatever the cause the result isn’t always pleasant. After dragging him to a barbecue this summer and being rewarded with appalling rudeness (in the presence of my Dad, even worse!), I came to the conclusion that spending family time with a teenager was a doomed project. But after a trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum less than a week later, I changed my mind. Having fun family time with a teenager is possible, but there is definitely a Right Way and a Wrong Way to go about it.
As a single parent of a three-year-old and a one-year-old, I felt like there wasn’t enough of me to go around. Both boys constantly wanted a piece of me, but no matter how much I gave they still wanted more. Sibling rivalry!
“It’s not fair!” was the constant refrain (emitted as a plaintive wail rather than real words by the littlest one). The battle was seldom about toys: remarkably, they shared every toy they had right from the first day. By the week after Christmas nobody could actually remember who had got which toy for Christmas, they were all joint property. No, the object that aroused their sense of injustice was me – it was my attention that they competed for. Fiercely. Without a resident co-parent, the love supply was halved and, by definition, if one of them had my attention the other didn’t. “It’s not fair!”
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I am absolutely rubbish. I have been trying to give up biscuits for over 30 years now, or at least to cut down on them. Thirty years of trying and it still takes a superhuman effort to limit my consumption to three a day. (It’s supposed to be only two-a-day but I can never resist going back to the tin for just one more hit…).
I don’t just fail to give up at New Year, I fail all year. My most successful stints are those rare occasions when I am on holiday in a remote country and there are no biscuits and no corner shops. Rainy camping holidays in Cornwall are the worst – I can go through a packet a day then easily.
Which has got me thinking about why change is hard. Why is it so hard to wipe the slate clean and really do things differently? Continue reading →