Sunday, May 18, 2008

Token's Universe

Blog posts two days in a row! Don't faint or anything, okay? GfG made me do it (see yesterday's comments :-).

Inspired by the news that friends with kids similar ages had a token system that regulated their entertainment time, ML and I decided that such a system was probably just the thing we needed to use to motivate MS.

MS has approximately 70 tokens each week (poker chips that my mom bought for me at the dollar store, I think; they were going to be math manipulatives, but we have plenty of other counters, so we re-tasked them). Each token is worth 5 minutes of computer or Wii time on the weekend (during the week, only educational play is allowed on either of the above) or 5 kirsch (roughly 7 cents), although he has yet to choose the cash.

During the week, he might lose a token for not staying on task (either with schoolwork or with Family Responsibilities), for speaking rudely to a sibling, for not obeying quickly, or for looking at the list of iTunes episodes on the kids' computer, instead of picking up his room (to use a [purely hypothetical, of course] example). He might gain tokens for diligently working through a job or assignment, running an errand, or for packing up breakfast to-go for his toddler brother who slept in after a rough night (yeah, that's a hypothetical example, too).

The tokens given, though, stop if there is ever the expectation of receiving them. They are purely a blessing on top of the joy of serving family (well, that's our goal, at least, and I will have to say, he's doing pretty good these days at reaching it).

Tokens are brought to the parent who has asked for them so as to keep the system on the up and up (as opposed to transfered by MS himself, which might be a temptation to "fudge").

He has three colors of tokens. White ones go first, then, hm, I'm not sure, whichever one he decides is next, and then the other one. This helps him gauge his week and be aware of how many tokens he's burning through.

Some weeks, he earns very little or no time on the Wii or computer. He has had up to three hours on a good week, but I don't think that has happened more than once, and when it did, it was definitely earned.

In the process, MS has learned to budget his entertainment time and has become very selective as to what he plays when he's earned it. We're pleased that this skill has been a benefit of the system.

Oh, and arguing, rather than respectfully asking to challenge the loss of a token just adds another token (and another and another and another, in some cases).

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