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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behavior System

I'm going to bring back an annoying phrase, "My two year old is an angel!  Said no mom EVER."  Mine is no exception.  In fact, his behavior lately is...tiresome.  He's always been one tough cookie but the past few months have been extra rough.  Four days after I brought home my youngest, my oldest ended up in the hospital for several days with an pneumonia.  Since then he's had a severe ear infection, a cough that hasn't gone away, and now he has croup.  I think the combination of the new baby and being so sick he's gone over the edge.  Channeling my inner teacher, I came up with a magnet system.

In the dollar section of Target I found a packet of 24 round small magnets.  In the office section I also found a very cheap whiteboard.  I divided the whiteboard into 24 squares (one for each magnet).  The most important part was coming up with a few very important and understandable rules he has to follow.  I came up with the follow:  I will use my words, NO SCREAMING, I will be nice to the doggy, I will be nice to my brother, I will be a good listener, I will pick up my toys.  Using leftover sentence strips from school (you can buy them at your local parent/teacher store or use construction paper/poster board) I wrote each rule and put a relate-able picture with it.  

I also printed several reward pictures.  I tried to choose rewards that didn't cost much.  I also avoided a lot of snacks or toys.  Here are his rewards; Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts (they have little kid sized ones!), bookstore (they have a train table he loves), paint (ugh), and a picnic.

For the first round, I chose the prize.  Once he understood the system I let him choose the next.  Another important piece is DO NOT TAKE MAGNETS AWAY.  This is something I've learned as an educator.  Don't take away something that they've already earned and worked hard for.  I knew that if I took magnets away, he would be screaming and yanking the system off of the wall.  That completely defeats the purpose as this should be a positive experience.

He is rewarded a magnet when I catch him following the rules.  For the first round, we were more lenient with things to get him excited and understanding the system.  It took him over a week to earn all of his magnets, even with use being lenient.  Like I said earlier, we have behavior issues!  At the same time you don't want them earning a prize every other day either.  We are only on our second round and we are still struggling.  He is excited about it and fully understands the system.  Unfortunately, he is sick again (croup!) and that has affected his behavior.  Hoping once he finally gets rid of the germs, things will progress!

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