A number of years ago, a fellow home schooling mum shared with the rest of us on the home schooling forums her Rewards and Punishment System, dubbed Ursie’s Token Economy.
Basically, positive behaviors are rewarded with tokens. Tokens can be saved up and exchanged for something special.
It takes a while to set up and, depending on your family size/dynamics, it may look/work differently.
Here is what I’ve done so far. First, I got some blank calling cards.
These alone could serve as the Tokens. But, if you have more than one child, it may be a good idea to distinguish the tickets so that you know whose ticket it is that is on the floor. (Or, you could simply claim back any stray tickets – the natural consequence for not putting hard-earned tickets away properly.) In any case, I feel it is a good idea to mark the tickets in some way to eliminate any arguments as to ownership.
I find coloured dots and stars stickers to be a good way to mark the tickets. And, I’m lucky I have four children and that these packets have four colours so I can just allocate one colour to each child.
I assigned different values to the Tokens: dots are worth one value, stars are worth another, dot-and-star yet another.
I was also very fortunate to find this container at the supermarket:
My tickets fit in there perfectly!
The above is the easy part.
The difficult part is coming up with a system that works.
Basically, the idea behind the Token System is to reward positive behavior and penalise negative behaviour by awarding and/or removing tickets accordingly. If you are just starting out, it might be a good idea to just start with rewarding positive behaviours first. It might also be a good idea to focus on the most important behaviours first and then slowly introduce other things into the list.
What you choose to reward/punish is totally up to you. It could be you choose to award tokens for doing chores and school work. Or, you could use the token system to help a particular child develop a good habit (or overcome a bad habit).
Tokens are saved up and can be exchanged for Something Special. In our household, this translates to computer time, going out, or sometimes, money. Make sure everyone understands what the Exchange Rate is!
For me, I would like to see the Token System be an aid in developing good behaviour and not an end in itself. Ultimately, I want my children to do what is good and right because it is the right and proper thing to do and not because of the promise of a physical reward.