Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Reward System: Good or Bad?

About a year ago we started the reward system on Abby, to get her to start sleeping on her own, and finish her milk every morning. We give her a sticker every time she has slept in her own bed or finished up her milk. It worked pretty well, she is sleeping in her own bed now, but still not finishing her milk most of the time. The novelty kinda worn off after we ran out of stickers.

Then in March, we decided to start again to get her potty trained. We had a fantastic result, within 2 weeks by giving her a sticker for weeing and 2 for pooing in her potty, she got out of her nappies, and didn't even need pull ups. Again, we stopped after she's fully trained.

Recently Abby has been talking about wanting to go to Hello Kitty land. I told her that it's too expensive to go there, but she couldn't grasp the idea of money.
Abby: 'I have lots and lots of money in my Hello Kitty jar!'
Me: 'But that's not enough. You need many many jars filled up to go there.'
'Owwww. Can you give me more money?'
'No because I don't have any.'
'But daddy has!'

So I thought it was a good opportunity to teach her how to save up, and that she need to earn the money instead of just asking for it. 6 weeks ago I told her that if she does something when I told her to at first call, she can get 20p (big mistake). 10p at second call, and none after that. She's doing quite well with it (too well), and now she's been brushing her teeth, tidying up her toys and goes to bed when I told her to. Her jar is getting heavier, while our pockets are getting lighter.

So the reward system is working fairly well. But me and hubby had a conversation about the whole thing and the following questions were bothering us a bit.

Are we bribing her to do things?
Is she gonna be reward oriented, ie will she only do something just so that she can get a reward? Eg 'Mummy, I just tidied up my toys (again) can I get 20p??'
Also, what is the right amount of reward that gets her saving up a good lump sum of money, yet won't leave us broke?

We also decided to let her use 5 pounds of her money (will probably do this once a month) tomorrow and let her buy whatever she wants, just to teach her a bit more about the value of money.

Any thoughts?