Friday, April 15, 2011

Sodium, Jack of Spades

We have tried various incentive programs in an attempt to encourage good, safe behavior for our son at school. We’ve had some successes, but have found that the reward has to be changed every now and then to keep Kai motivated.

For the few weeks prior to Spring Break, his reward was die-cast NASCAR miniatures. The week we introduced that, he was very excited and I think it helped to motivate him to have a good week at school. But, after earning his first car, his interest in NASCAR waned and his motivation seemed low after that.

With Kai’s newfound obsession with the periodic table, we found a new reward for him – element playing cards! The cards are actually a double deck of playing cards with the name of an element, and corresponding information, on each card. Each day, depending on whether he had safe behaviors and how well he did on his point sheet at school, he can earn up to four cards.

Since we started this latest program, he has put together his best two consecutive weeks in nearly three months. Today, he came home with another 100% score for the day. That earned four more element cards – silicon, sulfer, chlorine, and argon for those of you keeping score at home.

How long will this keep him motivated? His interest in elements seems far stronger than his interest in NASCAR was. My guess is that he will want all of the cards so this has the potential to keep him going for more than another month, close to the end of the school year.

Will we go crazy by then? Maybe. But, if it helps to keep our son motivated for school, it will be worth it.

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