How To Use
Toddlers - 18 months to 3 years (for use under adult supervision)
For very young children rewards need to be kept immediate and obvious. We recommenced that their Reward Box is kept somewhere accessible (maybe in the kitchen / playroom or near the toilet for potty training). Throughout the day the box can be referred to and tokens can be awarded and immediately posted.
The act of receiving a token and posting it into the box will be a treat in itself, and seeing a token removed from the box sends a powerful reminder when they overstep the boundaries you are trying to establish.
An achievable target ( between 5 and 10 tokens) should be set each day and at the end of each day you can incorporate the counting of the tokens and remembering what they were received for (re-enforcing messages around what is good behaviour) into their bedtime routine.
The box can also be used to target specific behavioural goals / achievements (such as 'being kind', potty training, getting undressed and dressed, staying in bed until a certain time), which can be empathised as as theme for the week and tokens can be given each time they achieve the particular target (i.e. trying a new food / staying in their bed all night)
If the target has been reached for the day we recommend that a small reward is left in the box (in place of the tokens) overnight. This should be a gesture gift such as a sticker, a small sweet, a promise voucher for a treat such as a visit to the park or a very little toy in the case of really good behaviour.
“Amazing product. I was unsure it was going to work for my 20 month old but we started by rewarding stars for letting us brush his teeth properly. As a late teether he hates it. Now gets up and asks to brush teeth for a star and claps when he gets to pop it in the box. 2 nights ago we started awarding stars for sleeping in his bed all night and not creeping in for cuddles. For a child who co-slept for ages and is soon to be a big brother he’s taken to it like a duck to water. The reward box is a great gentle approach when you know you’ve tried everything else.”
— Mickyla Britton
Pre-Schoolers - 3 to 5 years
For slightly older children the use of their Reward Box can be adapted to start to encourage more advanced behavioural goals and to develop their imagination.
We recommend setting out 3-6 key areas of focus (goals) for that week (for example making their bed, using their manners, brushing their teeth well, sharing their toys). These goals should be clearly explained and discussed with your child so they understand how they can achieve them. At the beginning of the week we also recommend picking a prize / reward together which they are working towards for the the week (a family trip to the park, a movie night together, a trip to the bakers to choose a treat). Alternatively you may ask your child to start to make a choice over their rewards (for example would they prefer a small sweet treat each day they have achieved their goal or would they rather save their tokens for a larger prize at the end of the week? (this helps develop a child's sense of decision making as well as introducing the concept of saving)
At the end of each day you can discuss each goal and determine whether they have earned a coin in this area or not (they should be encouraged to participate in this, giving examples of where they feel they have done well and where they feel they could do better tomorrow). We recommend you aim to give 2-4 tokens per day, rewarding the areas where they have done well and focusing on how they can do better tomorrow for the ones where they have not earned a token.
This is also a key age for developing your child's imagination so you may chose to introduce an element of 'magic' by saying the 'Good Behaviours' 'fairies' or 'pirates' will be visiting while they sleep to exchange their tokens for a their treat or little voucher for their reward.
“This reward box is a brilliant twist on the old reward/star chart idea...
My toddler is going through a hitting phase (the shame) and this is just what we need to change the habit.
She is a very visual learner and a big pirate fan so this box covers a few bases!
I can carry a few stars around in my pocket for when we are out and about and the promise of a star, that she can physically see and touch, is a perfect reward.
She can’t read yet so reward charts with words are pointless! This reward box is perfect for toddlers and will hopefully work just as well at 4, 5 and 6 etc.”
School Age - 6 to 8 years
As your children develop and start to make the transition towards receiving pocket money the Reward Box can grow with them, acting as a way to immediately reward the completion of basic chores (for example they receive a token for setting the table), to encourage the completion of homework and to recognise when children have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. It can also be used to start to differentiate the effort involved in chores (maybe making their bed is only worth one token but doing the washing up earns two). At the end of the week they can be encouraged to use their tokens to 'buy' things for example maybe they will chose to use half of the tokens to purchase a special day but to exchange the others for real money to put in their money box.
Other uses for your Reward Box
As well as rewarding good behaviour and the completion of goals and chores your child's Reward Box can be used in other ways to encourage their development and sense of play. Please note that we do not recommend that your child plays with their Reward Box unsupervised under the age of 3).
Here are a few ideas:
Children can be encouraged to use their imaginations to communicate with fairies, elves, pirates or other imaginary creatures by writing letters, leaving gifts and posting them into their boxes for collection during the night
When the tooth fairy visits teeth can be left in the box
Children can be encouraged to learn to count and carry out basic mathematics by posting certain numbers of coins into their box. By working with them you can teach basic numeracy skills (if you had 3 coins and you posted 1 how many are left?)
Letters to Father Christmas and Birthday wish lists can be posted into the box
Children can share / dispose of their worries or concerns. If they have something they don't feel ready to talk about they can be encouraged to draw or write it down and then post it away for the fairies / pirates to help solve
“I bought the pirate chest for my little boy as had bought the fairy chest for my 5 year old girl and was really pleased with how well it was working with her reluctant reading. The pirate chest is very well made (as is the fairy chest) and of similar design. My little boy is 2 so at the moment we are using it to reward independence like getting his shoes when it is time to go out and putting his toys back in his box at bed time etc but am about to embark on potty training so plan to use it for that. Would definitely recommend, am really pleased with both of them .”