Implementing a point system encourages positive behaviour and can be an effective parenting tool to add to your existing toolbox. This tool would be for the age range of 3/3.5 years to 12 years old. Here are the four steps to implement this tool for your child:
1. Decide on the behaviour or behaviours you want to encourage in your child. Better to start with one to three until you and your child become more comfortable with the point system
2. Decide on the point(s) you will give to your child for the behaviour(s). You may give a half point, full point or a certain number of points for the desired behaviour (e.g. kind gesture to sibling, helping clean up, brushing teeth, eating all their vegetables).
3. Decide on what the child achieves with the points. If your child has screen time then your child can earn points to have their screen time. For example the recommended screen time is 2 hours per day, if the child earns 12 points, each point equates to 10 minutes and thus adds up to 120 minutes or 2 hours of screen time. If you have different rules for your child's screen time whether less time or only on weekends then adjust accordingly. If your child does not have any screen time then find something your child can work towards to earn that day that is meaningful for them.
4. Look and observe for the behaviour(s) in your child and tell them the point(s) they have earned. You can say "I really liked how you brushed your teeth when I asked the first time, I give you one point, you now have ____points." You can even encourage your child to notice when they achieve the behaviour and share with you.
With Earth Day just around the corner, and the opportunity to teach some valuable life lessons as the recent article of Green Child speaks to including balance, empathy, courage, and responsibility. An opportunity to speak to the future of earth being in our hands and finding mindful ways to continue supporting earth all year. Below are 4 ways to get outside this Earth Day together with your child(ren):
1. Create a nature mandala in your front yard or in a near by forest. This allows art to be created and opportunity to be mindful of what exists in nature nearby.
2. Play a guessing game outside together either at a nearby park, nearby lake/river, or any outdoor place in nature that has meaning for you and your child(ren). Take turns choosing an item nearby in nature without saying the item, and they provide three clues about the item and allow the others to guess what it may be. This encourages taking turns, listening and observations skills.
3. Watch the sunrise or sunset together on Earth Day being as present as possible to the magnificence of this planet.
4. Go for a walk in a new nature place you have never been to together. Great opportunity to get out of our comfort zone or usual routine and try something new!
Parenting can feel like a chore somedays or for some, many days, especially if the schedule is so jam packed you barely have a moment to breathe. There are many pressures on parents, one of the ways to ease the pressure is find deeper ways to connect with our child(ren) so there is less repeating 20 times for your child(ren) to brush their teeth, or to get ready at the front door so you are not late for school. Deeper connection allows us to utilize the energy we have in more meaningful ways. For some they may need to pare down the schedule to have more time in order to find time to connect more deeply. When we connect more deeply we can delight in our children more. Delighting in ways that we truly enjoy our child's presence and their special uniqueness while being so connected in the moment. Delight allows our children to flourish developmentally, physically, and emotionally.
I have been working with parents for over 10 years. I have learned a great deal from them as well as from parenting my own children. It has taught me that parenting is the most trying job there is, requires the support of a village, and with the right supports can be truly rewarding.