We often commend to use reward chart as a first line management for children suffering with bedwetting, or daytime bladder problems. This is to be done towards improving children’s liquid intake that is drinking at least 6 to 8 cups of water every day, bladder habit ie going to toilet every couple of hours, bowel habits, ie opening bowels every day, and wet linen management, ie helping parents towards managing the cleaning of the dirty linen.
In this process the child is encouraged to put a sticker on a chart once they have successfully achieved a goal set by parents. The reward chart and stickers can be available from online self-help websites, shops or parents can make their own at home.
Engaging a child towards above mentioned behaviour can produce long lasting & outstanding improvements. However the process requires extreme degree of perseverance, and patience from parents as well as the engagement of the child.
Here are certain tips to use the reward chart effectively-
- Always start with an easy goal- Setting a goal too high may not be achievable for a young child and therefore would disengage them very quickly. As for example if parents want to improve the child’s behaviour towards their bladder habit, they can encourage the child to put a sticker on a reward chart whenever the child goes to the toilet every time. This should be ideally every couple of hours the daytime. Once the child achieves 4-5 stickers for a day they win their desirable reward. This can be their favourite meal, toy or anything else which child is looking for, and is affordable and practical for parents. Please note that these rewards are only used for short-term.
- The goal could be moved up very slowly. Doing it rapidly shall disrupt the child’s engagement as they may never have gained the confidence in the previous step, and shall get further discouraged and demotivated. Parents need to make sure their child is confident enough to move the goal up.
- Always adopt a cheering and encouraging attitude even if the child has not been able to achieve the goal specified. Blaming or shaming will produce a very negative impact and it would be very difficult to engage the child again.
- Remember not to overwhelm the child with too many goals to achieve at once. It is a very gradual process to be effective and needs a lot of patience and perseverance for a successful outcome.
- It is often very common for parents to lose the patients especially when the child is not engaging enough despite parents putting their best efforts. Please do not give up if you’re finding your child is not engaging enough. Try to give a short break and re-start the process with new strategies, and rewards. Perseverance brings a long-term positive effect.
- Every child has got different interests and it can often be very challenging to find out what a child is interested in. They can often get bored very quickly with one particular type of reward and hence parents need to be very clever keep changing the rewards reading into their child’s interests.
- Last but not the least parents need to make sure that the rewards are practical and affordable for a particular family. A very high achieving goal or a costly reward would not sustain for long term.
I hope this guide sheet helps you in motivating and engaging your child towards a behaviour modification.