As part of PoP’s 10 year anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to showcase guest posts from people who work as hard on their small businesses as we do and perhaps also look as businesses which do something a little different to how we parent and how we work. So first up is Helen, with a post on how her reward charts work for her children and why she is passionate about them. You can visit her at Kiddycharts and follow her on Twitter too.
Show your child what you mean using a chart; don’t just tell them
My kids are gorgeous and very different *proud mum.* My daughter focused on learning to talk and earned her Chatterbox nickname before she was two.
Because of this we have actually made things harder for her; sometimes we have expected her to understand more than perhaps was reasonable when we were speaking to her.
My son could walk before he was one. He hasn’t stopped moving since. His nickname of Stuntboy is far from ironic.
Both of them presented their own unique challenges, but one thing that has helped me get through most of them, is being able to show them, using pictures, what we are trying to teach them as parents, or what we are looking to help them with.
Reducing separation anxiety with photos
I worked pretty much fulltime when Chatterbox was younger. I would be away for days sometimes, in the states, or just one night in a hotel in the U.K. She was in nursery some days, daddy was looking after her for others. It all became confused; as it often does with us working mums.
She was upset when she was dropped off with whomever was looking after her. Poor little thing just didn’t know what was coming next. I wanted to solve it; that’s the analyst in me…
So, we started using a care chart to show her, with our own photographs what was happening the next day, and who was going to be giving her lunch and was looking after her if mummy was away. The tears didn’t stop on the day, but they did the night before, and that made things a lot easier for us.
Having said that, it still wasn’t right. So I gave up work. We still use the care charts now though, over the school holidays as she is now seven. They help to show her when and if she is in holiday club. Thankfully now, there are no tears, just excitement at seeing her friends.
Build the sticker charts with your kids
Stuntboy’s challenges have been very different.
He is a mummy’s boy, but I have been here most of the time as I made that decision to stop travelling for work when he was born, and then gave up work.
Instead, he likes throwing behavioural curveballs at me…
We are firm believers in reward charts in our house; but reward charts our way. Our charts are picture based, and we build them with our children; they chose the theme, the photos and in some cases what we are focused on helping them with.
My kids love their charts because they sat at the computer and helped to create them with me; now they are older, they even use the laminator.
As for the rewards on the charts; they have drawn up that list too, and its often all about just having more time with mummy and daddy, something which we give them anyway, willingly.
Charts work better if you dip in now and then
We never use the charts negatively, and always make sure if they achieve their stars they are to be “proud of themselves” – it’s not all about mummy an daddy being proud of them.
Even now, they still work. My daughter is seven and loves her princess “picking your clothes” up chart – and now I have less chance of picking up her knickers off the floor!
My son’s light is always turned off when he leaves the room, and he is looking forward to his treat; he gets one when we have 21 stickers on his chart you see; three weeks worth.
I know some people find reward charts don’t work. I accept that they are not for everyone. However, they have worked for me and continue to do so. We certainly don’t use them all the time, but if there is something we really need to work on; my kids are happy to have a chart to help them along.
I strongly believe if they are used well, visual charts can help in many situations; with behaviour, with eating, and even with separation anxiety.
And do remember, enabling them to work is just as much down to the parent as it is to the child.
PS – this is a genuine guest post. I’ve not been paid, compensated or erm… rewarded 😉