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Need tips implementing token system at home

Posted by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 12:11 AM
  • 11 Replies

I decided to give my son stars for good behavior and a reward after 25 stars. I thought everytime he complies when given an instruction like 'come for lunch' or 'wash hands' or 'change clothes' or 'time for bath' I would give him a star. I help him with some of the tasks, but he needs to only be ready to do these things when told once and not turn a deaf ear or keep arguing that he doesn't want to do it. I wanted to give a star for any good behavior like if gets something on request or finishes snack without getting up. 2 days pass, he doesn't give me an opportunity to give a star. Then I lower my expectations and give a star if he finishes milk after repeated warnings or if he gets something after many requests. If I tell him I will give him a reward right after he follows an instruction, he immediately listens. Stars don't ring the bell. So how do I go by this? Also I tend to forget that I need to give him a star at times. I want to make this token system more organised. Any tips would help. Thanks in advance.

by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 12:11 AM
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ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Mar. 30, 2016 at 6:53 AM

I think you need to start with a much smaller number of stars to equal a reward for him to make the connection between stars and reward. Say he needs to get 3 stars. And show him the token board and have a ripped off sticker sheet with just 3 stars. Say, when you get these three stars on this board, you get a prize. In the beginning, you need to physically show him you putting a star on the token board for each time he complied to an instruction ...... the goal is usually to even have him add the star himself so he has a physical cue connecting the compliance to to sticker board.

Hopefully after the first time, it'll click and you can move it up to 5 or 10 stars. Honestly, I wouldn't do more than 10 stars to earn a reward, but it can be a small reward. Then you can tell him that he has to earn his 10 stars 5 different time (so 50 stars total) to earn a big prize. 

Hope this helps!

karene999
by Karen on Mar. 30, 2016 at 7:59 AM
1 mom liked this

What type of reward system are they using for him at school or therapy if any?

Mirror that exactly, talk to them about what they are using and how to implement it. Jim's school gave me

additional tokens to match exactly what they were using. It worked great and there was no confusion.

SamMom912
by Platinum Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 8:11 AM
Is this something youve discussed with your ABA?

Im not a fan based on the many meltdowns Ive witnessed from Sam when a star wasnt earned that could have been based on acmend he was given that seemed "too difficult" from a sensory, anxiety, transitional, ???? Perspective for him. That it never felt good.

Like I was simply adding "pressure" and stress.

For ME, I needed to "get"... IF sam wasnt compliant I needed to look at the situation thru HIS eyes and see why. It was not about listening for him.. It was more about understanding and compassion for me.

Sam put on your shoes. He would. Ok, star.
Head for the car... Sadly Sam would begin to cry.. Army crawl (because his legs were weak from fear and wouldn't carry him) down our long (thankfully carpeted) hallway.. Until the 5 steps down to the garage where he would need to stand and at that point would sometimes crumble to the floor "i cant!!" Or yelling "not going to the car!" And running to his room.

Sam, come to the table. We are eating dinner.
Star.
Sits down... 4 dry heaves later... Your dinner smells weird to me. Can I be excused?"
Star?? No star?

I couldn't give a star for anything to change. :( it was too much to overcome.

Sam & your son are different kids.
BUT Im of the firm belief kids "do what they can. IF they are NOT doing whats asked, its up to us, as the adults, to problem solve WHY.
Incentivizing is fine- BUT 1. You want to teach your son to listen because its right; not because it gets him "stuff".
I know star charts are to begin incentivizing so patterns can be established, good habits can be created and then you can drop the reward.

Rewards are actually best when they are inconsistent. The desired act us done in the hopes but not guarantee of "getting".

Kazdin from Yale has a DVD/book about positive reinforcement that maybe you should check out? He likes behavior charts too.

Sorry, Im not much help.
I DO agree with Brittany.. 25 seems like a lot.


Ralgj
by April on Mar. 30, 2016 at 6:21 PM
I also agree with Brittaney on decreasing the number of stars. At least for a while until he understands. Does he have a reward system at school? If so maybe adopt their process. Or if not work on one you can both do. He may be motivated by the stars eventually or it may not be the right thing for him. I guess it's a lot of trial and error. Good luck!!
Simran81
by Silver Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 12:39 AM

I understand what you are saying. How do we get over these daily battles, Its the same story everyday. If we wouldnt spend so much time fighting over changing clothes or having milk or using the toilet, we would have so much more time in the day to work on things. If he needs help I am ready to help, but most times he doesnt answer and if he does "its not time to change clothes or drink milk". Aba is implementing 10 tokens and a reward. Right now he is at "touch your nose", "stomp your feet", things that are comparatively easy and a little fun for him. Sometimes he has a hard time with that too. My rewards are inconsistent, that might be a good thing then! I will reduce the stars. To take the pressure off I had told him he gets the reward if - he gets 25 stars or on the 1st of next month. Today he said "It's going to be April on Friday, I am not interested in doing stars anymore" :). Thanks for the DVD suggestion and for sharing your experience!

Quoting SamMom912: Is this something youve discussed with your ABA? Im not a fan based on the many meltdowns Ive witnessed from Sam when a star wasnt earned that could have been based on acmend he was given that seemed "too difficult" from a sensory, anxiety, transitional, ???? Perspective for him. That it never felt good. Like I was simply adding "pressure" and stress. For ME, I needed to "get"... IF sam wasnt compliant I needed to look at the situation thru HIS eyes and see why. It was not about listening for him.. It was more about understanding and compassion for me. Sam put on your shoes. He would. Ok, star. Head for the car... Sadly Sam would begin to cry.. Army crawl (because his legs were weak from fear and wouldn't carry him) down our long (thankfully carpeted) hallway.. Until the 5 steps down to the garage where he would need to stand and at that point would sometimes crumble to the floor "i cant!!" Or yelling "not going to the car!" And running to his room. Sam, come to the table. We are eating dinner. Star. Sits down... 4 dry heaves later... Your dinner smells weird to me. Can I be excused?" Star?? No star? I couldn't give a star for anything to change. :( it was too much to overcome. Sam & your son are different kids. BUT Im of the firm belief kids "do what they can. IF they are NOT doing whats asked, its up to us, as the adults, to problem solve WHY. Incentivizing is fine- BUT 1. You want to teach your son to listen because its right; not because it gets him "stuff". I know star charts are to begin incentivizing so patterns can be established, good habits can be created and then you can drop the reward. Rewards are actually best when they are inconsistent. The desired act us done in the hopes but not guarantee of "getting". Kazdin from Yale has a DVD/book about positive reinforcement that maybe you should check out? He likes behavior charts too. Sorry, Im not much help. I DO agree with Brittany.. 25 seems like a lot.


SamMom912
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 8:52 AM
Im a positive reinforcer. Im big on setting expectations and giving rewards (little kisses, snuggles, high 5s, "super job bud!") for doing things that he does easily and offering a reward... "You go brush your teeth & get dressed , holler if you need a hand, when you come back out you can play with the ipad until its time to go."
MunchiesMom324
by Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 9:54 AM
1 mom liked this
I did tokens. Each kid has a bank, and they got tokens for getting up/going to bed without argument, getting dressed on their own, doing their homework, helping around the house. The catch was, if I had to yell, there was no token. They then used their tokens to "buy" electronic time (tv, tablet, etc), movie tickets, mom dollars (which they then used to buy dollar tree toys from my "mom store" aka my closet). I even did scratch off tickets they could buy with their mom dollars, that win them things like real money, their choice of game for family game night, their choice of movie in movie night, a special dinner, etc.

My kids are 4-12, with my 12yo on the spectrum.
Simran81
by Silver Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Thank you, I will try reducing the stars!  When I tell him to add a star though, he says u do it, I don't want to add.

Quoting ineedcoffeemom:

I think you need to start with a much smaller number of stars to equal a reward for him to make the connection between stars and reward. Say he needs to get 3 stars. And show him the token board and have a ripped off sticker sheet with just 3 stars. Say, when you get these three stars on this board, you get a prize. In the beginning, you need to physically show him you putting a star on the token board for each time he complied to an instruction ...... the goal is usually to even have him add the star himself so he has a physical cue connecting the compliance to to sticker board.

Hopefully after the first time, it'll click and you can move it up to 5 or 10 stars. Honestly, I wouldn't do more than 10 stars to earn a reward, but it can be a small reward. Then you can tell him that he has to earn his 10 stars 5 different time (so 50 stars total) to earn a big prize. 

Hope this helps!


HFBMOM
by Julie on Mar. 31, 2016 at 10:42 PM

This makes me chuckle. Of course he wouldn't want to "add" the star, who wants to do math as a reward? lol  Anyway, if add is the word you are using you might want to change to "stick it on" or something.

Quoting Simran81:

Thank you, I will try reducing the stars!  When I tell him to add a star though, he says u do it, I don't want to add.

Quoting ineedcoffeemom:

I think you need to start with a much smaller number of stars to equal a reward for him to make the connection between stars and reward. Say he needs to get 3 stars. And show him the token board and have a ripped off sticker sheet with just 3 stars. Say, when you get these three stars on this board, you get a prize. In the beginning, you need to physically show him you putting a star on the token board for each time he complied to an instruction ...... the goal is usually to even have him add the star himself so he has a physical cue connecting the compliance to to sticker board.

Hopefully after the first time, it'll click and you can move it up to 5 or 10 stars. Honestly, I wouldn't do more than 10 stars to earn a reward, but it can be a small reward. Then you can tell him that he has to earn his 10 stars 5 different time (so 50 stars total) to earn a big prize. 

Hope this helps!



Remember what motivates you. Go towards your goal and be proud of everything you do to improve your life and your health.

emarin77
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2016 at 10:35 AM

I did the same for my son when a preschooler.  I used Excel to create the sheets.  I bought star stickers for every good behavior he did for each day.  If my son made less then 3 written strikes, (not hitting mom/dad or not listening) he receives an award of his choosing.  After otwo weeks of use this award system he followed through and received his large award almost every week after. 

He still uses this behavieral award system who is 7.5 now, he just doesn't like receiving the stickers anymore.  That saves me money.

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