This months we have a guest blog – written by Sally from TotsUp – the Big Red Bus Reward Chart so the title is rather fitting!!

Implementing a reward system can be an effective way of helping to tackle behavioural challenges and is much more likely to be effective and successful when the child is motivated, excited and engaged by it. The key to this (and so many other aspects of parenting!) is storytelling. We’ve all created fictitious tales of children whose hair curled because they ate their crusts and elves who feedback to Santa in the run up to Christmas and as Mum’s we know… it works!

Creating a story around the chart can be a great way of getting your little one on board with the reward chart and helping to really motivate them.

The red bus reward chart is a unique, personalised, 3D magnetic chart with iOS app, here at TotsUp we know that improving behaviour doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a journey and the bus is here to help.

Your child can chose the destination of the bus and talk about their own experiences of trips and travel, they can name the passengers as they place them on the bus – they could liken them to friends and family and talk about the names they give them and why.

You could also link the reward to the bus in some way, for example if the bus is going to the park, a trip to the park could be the reward. Parents are often put off using a reward chart as they associate them with relentless plastic toys or costly rewards but often children are far more motivated by the promise of going somewhere they enjoy or doing something they love. Another great reward is some containers of sand and water to symbolise a trip to the beach – it costs nothing and can be the outcome of a full bus that’s been heading to the beach.

Talking to your child about the behaviour you are working to improve as you fill the reward chart also helps them to understand the significance of the chart and as you encourage them to name the passengers on the bus, you might also link this to the behaviour you’re working on – ie ‘oooh look Grandma is on the bus now she would be very proud to see how nicely you sat at the table’. Encouraging simple story telling also helps a child’s emotional literacy – their ability to understand and express feelings and helps with early language acquistion. It also makes the whole experience more positive for parents and children alike.

Finally, ensuring the chart is visible to your child is parmount to it’s success – they will be reminded of what they are working on and more motivated to fill the chart if they can see it. Count the rewards they have earned, ensure they know how many more they have to get to fill their chart and most importantly share in their excitement each time they succeed. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement makes the journey more fun for everyone!

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