ClickerSolutions Training Treasures

Motivating Kids: Home Dollars

I have a system set up with my 10 year old daughter I call home dollars. She gets home dollars for doing anything I like...period. If I see her being polite, she gets home dollars, if I see her being forward in a department store asking for help, she gets home dollars and I explain why. Once I get her doing what I want, I randomly reward it with home dollars.

We have a list of about 100 things different amounts of these home dollars can be redeemed for. Everything from a candy bar (20) to control of the TV for a whole evening (250) to a computer (25000) to a trip to Disneyland . My daughter helps train her rat, so she understands operant conditioning well and she definitely knows what we are doing, but it is AMAZING how much it affects her behavior and how much she enjoys it.

Here's an example: In just the last couple of weeks we've been having a little trouble getting her out of bed in the mornings. Some of that is physiological depression because of some family things going on, but some of it is kid stuff. SO....I decided to use home dollars. The first day, I gave her 100 home dollars for "trying to get up on time, even though you didn't make it" The next day, she was up with one "Brittany sweety, time to get up!" Boom, 200 home dollars. The next day, she was up before I was. I haven't had to wake her up since. Now I just randomly give her home dollars for it.

She loves the program, and I love the program. One of the things I like most is that now SHE comes up with ideas to add. She TELLS me how to reward her. She has no idea what for or when the home dollars are coming, only that they do often.

A great side effect of this is that it helps me be a better parent. It's so easy in our society to focus on what the child is doing "correct" and "teach". Using home dollars FORCES me to watch her constantly for things that she does right and let her know about them. It helps me see

  1. That instances of bad behavior are really trivial once you notice how much good behavior you have, and
  2. All of the good things my child does.

Doug Johnson
Salt Lake City, UT
copyright 1999 Doug Johnson


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