Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My token economy

So, the boys have been earning a couple of toy airplanes via a marble jar. See, what I mean is, they played with some friends who had airplanes (Thanks Maren!) and thereby needed some (according to Henry) of their very own. In fact as soon as we departed from playing with said friends Henry said with much boldness, "Let's talk about getting me an airplane!"


I am no sucker.


So, off we went to Target, or maybe it was Walmart (who's to say?) where we promptly purchased $10 worth of toy airplanes.

Did I just hand them right over?

No Siree.

We also purchased 150 marbles.

And we explained:

You want airplanes? You gotta earn 'em.

How do you earn 'em?

1. By cleaning up
2. Getting dressed on command
3. Not fighting
4. Not screaming

Well, the boys were on board. Spencer didn't really "get" it, but still.

I told them they needed 20 marbles to get their airplanes. I figured with their motivation and my determination to improve their behavior, we'd be doling out airplanes within 5 days.


That was three weeks ago.

Have the boys' behaviors changed? Not so much. Other than when I threaten to REMOVE marbles, they usually stop whatever shenanigans they have engaged in... temporarily.

So why did it take three weeks?

Frankly, because I SUCK.

See, I kept forgetting about it. It was just a bit of a challenge. See. I just kept forgetting, unless it was convenient for me to remove marbles. Then I'd remember.

Or, I would promise marbles for good behavior and then never pay up.

Clearly I can not handle working on commission, see?

So, finally, today, after getting serious about follow-through, the 20th marbles were earned.

This is a HUGE relief to me. I am not enjoying the token economy. At all.

In the morning, I shall unwrap the airplanes and put away the marbles for a few weeks.

But, see, the Toy Story 3 toys have hit stores, and I really like them. And the boys really like them, so in the end, in order to feel as though my children are not thoroughly spoiled, I shall be forced make them earn new Buzz and Woody Dolls.

But I still need to figure out what I earn for good behavior, because this is more work for me than for them.

Sigh. What a pain in the tush.


TJDKG said...

Ugh I hear ya.. i always ALWAYS remember when it's time to take something away but the rewards not so much... and seriously Toy Story 3 can NOT wait!

Jackie said...

Token Economy! Are you a teacher?

Found you over at MMB, and subscribed, it's fun to see who is behind the diet coke diet, I started reading it last week!

Shell said...

The elementary school that my oldest is going to next year has a school-wide system like this. I need to see it in action so I can continue it at home, too.

Thanks for visiting me on my SITS day last Monday!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Start with a full jar (well, 20 or however many you want), and take one out each time they mess up. If there are still marbles in the jar at the end of the week (or however long you like...) then they get the treat - otherwise, fill it up and try for another week. This way, you only need to remember when you're motivated (i.e. if they're misbehaving)


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