We have just finished our first week with a points chart for our 9 year
old daughter. We have coupled this with a time out regime for
bad/inappropriate behaviour together with the risk of loss of
privileges for really bad behaviour (yelling and screaming or hitting
etc). It is early days yet, but so far it seems to be going well and
we are certainly all more relaxed most of the time, which makes a huge
difference. The main problems which we were experiencing were as
Poor sleep patterns (difficulty going to sleep, getting up in the night
with “phantom pains” then tiredness and grumpiness!)
Crying over just about everything
Problems in getting ready (for school or bed) within an appropriate
At present it is still school holidays, so we haven’t got the same
deadlines most days, in terms of being ready for school, but overall
our daughter now seems willing/able to tell the time (she has been able
for a while, but not willing to look at a clock!), to check how long
until she needs to be ready for bed etc.
The sleeping is also much better, as she can get 3 points for going to
bed and sleeping through the night without a fuss. During week one, she
only lost one point on this for a little bit of fussing.
In terms of the tantrums – well we haven’t had one! Again it is early
days and the real test will be during term time, but we thought it
would be easier to start the whole process with little pressure on her,
except the new approach to behaviour, to give her the incentive to
continue when she goes back to school.
There has been much less crying because I have just counted 1,
2…then, on the couple of occasions she has started, she has managed
to calm herself before getting to 3. Previously the constant crying
either led us to lose our temper with her and get stressed out, or to
have long “talks” about what the matter was. I wonder if these
reactions just rewarded the behaviour we didn’t want!
I think the main contributor to the behaviour we were seeing was
attention seeking – she acted-up to get our attention. Now, if she
earns 11 points in a day (from being on time, sleeping properly,
getting her things ready etc) she gets 15 minutes of reading with Mum
or Dad (before it was variable how much time as we were always running
late and very stressed out by bed time!) In addition, because we are
not spending so much time dealing with problem behaviour we can play
games or just sit and chat with our daughter. Also, here weekly treat
if she earns it is a meal out or takeaway which provides more time as a
family in a nice relaxed atmosphere.
The only slightly tricky bit is our son. He is 12 and has always been
a pretty easy child, well mannered most of the time, responsible etc.
He did feel a bit hard done by as his sister was getting rewards for
behaviour that he would take for granted. This resulted in a bit of
rudeness and stroppiness from him. We have explained that we really
value his good behaviour and he has been rewarded as he has
automatically had things like increases in pocket money, extra freedom,
little treats etc, without having a specific star chart. I think he
now has the message, but we will use time out or a 5 minute chore if
needed to reinforce this.
Thanks for the guidance – I hope that this will continue as it has
started and we will be able to enjoy a life with a much-reduced level
of stress for all of us.