Jennifer Tippett is a Family & Children’s Services Oklahoma Children’s Services Supervisor and SafeCare® Trainer. In this video, she shares information about how to positively interact with your children, structure rewards and manage behaviors.
All children should have a safe, nurturing and healthy homes. Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) specializes in creating stronger families and brighter futures for all children through improving relationships between parents and their children.
Parents of children ages birth to 5 at-risk or reported for child maltreatment have positive results through F&CS’s Comprehensive Home-Based Services (CHBS). CHBS works with Oklahoma Children’s Services (OCS), a division of the Department of Human Services, to help families receive assistance on child-rearing and ways to improve parenting, housekeeping and budgeting. Services are provided in the home and are structured according to the needs of the family.
Many years ago, F&CS adopted the SafeCare® model for its effectiveness in improving positive parenting skills and at reducing and preventing abuse and neglect. For over 30 years, this evidence-based parenting program has been used with parents of children ages 0-5 who are at-risk for or have been reported for child neglect or physical abuse. SafeCare® modules have positive outcomes of increasing parenting skills, reducing the likelihood of child maltreatment reports and reducing parental depression.
I am excited to share with you a skill to help you manage your child’s behaviors and may be particularly useful during this time when we find ourselves quarantined at home with our children. First and for most, it is important to know that you are not alone. It has been challenging for parents everywhere adapting to this new way of living, keeping their children on track with the regular daily activities, to homeschooling, as well as managing work responsibilities all at the same time.
Rewards are a great way to help your child start doing and learning a new behavior. Maybe the new behavior is getting your child to complete their home school task. Now, remember, rewards do not have to be about spending money. A few rewards, I really like are helping mom fix dinner, dress up with mom and dad, doing an art or craft project like painting, oh, I really like pulling out the box of old family photos to look and talk about and believe me my children to do. The reward is something that you can control and something your child likes. For younger children, a sticker can be a reward in itself.
If you use rewards correctly, the behavior you are wanting your child to learn will remain, even after the rewards have stopped. One way to do this is to add to what the child needs to do to get a reward. For example, “This is so great that you have been doing your reading assignment every morning and earning a sticker. Now let’s make it more fun – you have to read and practice writing your numbers to get a sticker.”
Don’t forget, you are still praising your child along with giving the reward. So when the reward ends, you will still praise your child. Because isn’t that what’s most important, your approval and attention.
So here is your Rewards Checklist:
- Pick one to two behaviors that don’t happen often, but are things you want to change. Only one or two behaviors at a time.
- Tell your child before you start. Describe the exact behavior that you expect from your child and exactly what they will get. “If you do your morning reading, then you will earn a sticker.” “When you have earned 5 stickers you get to help mommy cook dinner.”
- Give one reminder if their behavior slips.
- Follow through right away. When you see the positive behavior, praise your child. If they earned the reward, give it to them as soon as the activity is over.
- When your child is doing the behavior regularly, begin phasing out the reward, but continue to praise the behavior.
Keep in mind, new parenting ideas may need to be tried a few times before working, so keep at it, have fun and remember – you’re not alone.