Token Economy

The best way to streamline the behavior of a kid – Token Economy

Token economy programs & behavior therapies The introduction of token economies started in 1985 as a measure to control the behavior of kids. This is among the many practices that parents have used to help streamline the behaviors of their kids. They have also helped parents instill specific behaviors in their kids to help them prepare for the challenges that come along in everyday life.

Token economy programs allows kids to “earn currency” instantly. Kids can then trade the currency for different kinds of rewards. This is a good way for a parent to determine if their child’s behavior is improving or not, all the while teaching some other valuable lessons.

Token economies are easy to implement at school or at home. They can be used on their own or to enhance an existing incentive program. They are easy to implement as well as being effective, though token economies can be expensive and time-consuming. Whenever you are using them, you should never deprive children of their basic needs like food, shelter, or playtime. A token economy is an incentive program and should not be used to inflict punishments.

How do you select target behaviors?

For token economy rewards to work well, a parent needs to learn about certain specific behaviors that he or she wants to their kid to learn. Choosing one or two precise behaviors will always help parents to succeed using the token economy program.

Once you are sure that your kid has mastered the target skill, you can move on to the next behavior you want to focus on. Never pick too many behaviors for a child to focus on with this program. This may lead to frustration that can cause hatred between you and your kid.  Also, you should always be concise and clear by giving your child comprehensive rules as well as consequences for failure to observe those rules.

How do you choose the right type of token?

Many parents often spent thousands of dollars on tokens, but know that there are cheaper methods that you can use and still have an effective token economy. Here are a few tips:

  • The most common method is to “earn currency”. Remember, you do not have to use high valued tokens worth thousands of dollars to have a successful program. You can use almost anything, including objects as low as cents, and you will still successfully implement the program.
  • Secondly, you can use a number of inexpensive rewards. These include;
    • 1. Having a friend to sleep over in your home (with the permission of the friend’s parents)
    • 2. Renting a movie
    • 3. Staying up late (especially on the weekend)
    • 4. Going out together for ice cream
    • 5. Buying a special toy or even an item your kid wants

How do you successfully withdraw the program?

Every parent needs to decide on the number of tokens a kid must earn in order to exchange them for a reward. Moreover, parents must also be consistent with their goals and need to know when to end the token economy system once the behavior is fully implemented in their kid’s life.

With the implementation of the token economy program, you will not only change the behavior of your kids but also raise responsible kids who will help make better world in the future.

Find more information here: Kids making change | Token economy ideas Wikipedia | Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner Box  | For a definition go to here