Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jonah's Behavior Strategy

My youngest son, Jonah, is in 2nd grade. He is very smart, funny and has a smile you can't deny...but, boy is he trouble! I knew when I was pregnant with him that he was going to be a troublemaker. For his first two years, he could dump all of his toys on the floor and then come put his little arms around your neck, kissing you and telling you how much he loves you. It's hard to get mad at him when he's so sweet! As he's gotten older, the balance changed, where the naughtiness has overtaken the sweetness.

School is one of the places that Jonah can be the naughtiest. He's had some great teachers over the years...maybe some that weren't as great for him, but this year he has a teacher that totally gets him. The behavior strategy she uses in her class is to reward the students with money. She "catches" the students doing positive things and gives them a "buck." At the end of the week, they go to the class store to spend their "money."

But the day came that Jonah was no longer interested in this game. He realized the stuff in the store were lame, and he kind of liked the attention he got by misbehaving. There lies the to inspire him to want to behave. We needed a new plan...

First, I found Decision Dollars. The idea being that he would make good decisions and earn a special Decision Dollar. This worked for about a week. Occasionally, he will come home with one...but not often enough. We have told him that Decision Dollars can be turned in for a reward like an app on his Kindle, or his iTouch...or even a special food from the grocery store. Again, this has gotten mixed results for him. When he wants it, he tries...when he doesn't
care, well, he doesn't care!

After looking around forever, it seemed like, I decided that I would fall back on some of the things I've learned through all of Ethan's therapies. When he was younger, we would have colored cards to place on his meant "stop what you're doing!" So I created this sign... "STOP, What are you doing? What should you be doing?" Would this help Jonah? I don't know, but i'm certainly going to show it to his teacher and see what she thinks. Maybe we could tape this sign to his desk, help him remember!

This is another sign that I created. This one seems more serious, more like, "you are in trouble, so STOP!" Again, I don't know how Jonah's teacher will feel about these signs, but I think they are direct and to the point...and sometimes a young child just needs that redirection. My thought is that the teacher could have these as cards or a bookmark size. Then, when Jonah (or any other child!) is disruptive, not listening, talking too much, or basically, just not doing what they are supposed to do, she can put this on their desk, right in front of them. This way, the teacher doesn't have to reprimand verbally. We all have seen kids when their eyes glaze over from being lectured about what they have done wrong. Sometimes, a young child just needs to be reminded.

Are there any teachers out there that have great behavior strategies? I would love to know what other teachers do when there is a child not behaving, especially something creative! And if anyone is interested in these signs...just let me know and I will send it to you!


  1. Wow I will have to try these with my son. He bores quickly with our good behavior charts and could use some new motivation!

    1. So far, he responds best to the Decision Dollars and the Stop Sign.