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

Token economy programs & behavior therapies The token economy method of behavior management for children was introduced in 1985.  It has been used by many parents to streamline the behaviors of their kids. Token economies have also helped parents teach specific behaviors to their kids in to help them prepare for the challenges of life in their futures.

Token economy programs enable kids to earn “currency” instantly. A child can then trade the currency for several kinds of reward after some time. This way a parent can determine if a kid’s behavior is improving or not.

Token economies are easy to implement at school or at home, or even as an enhancement to an existing incentive program. Please note, however, that though they are both effective and easy to start, they can be expensive and time-consuming. Whenever you are implement a token economy, you should never deprive a child of his or her basic needs such as food, shelter, and playtime.

How do you select target behaviors?

For token economy rewards to work effectively, a parent needs to learn about specific behaviors that he or she wants to instill in their child. Selecting one or two precise behaviors will always help the token economy program succeed.

Once you are sure that your kid has mastered the target skill, you can move on to the next behavior therapy. Never try to work on too many behaviors with your child since it can lead to frustration that will eventually result in damage to your relationship with them. You should also be clear and concise. Give your kid comprehensive rules as well as make it clear that there will be consequences for the failure to observe the rules.

How do you choose the right type of token?

Many parents often spent thousands of dollars on token and forget that there are cheaper methods that they can use to achieve the goals of their token economy. Here are some tips!

Remember you do not have to use high valued tokens worth thousands of dollars to enable the program to be successful. You can use small, cheap items worth mere cents and you will still successfully implement the token economy.

You can use also inexpensive rewards. These include:

  • 1. Having a friend to sleep over in your home (with permission of the friend’s parents)
  • 2. Renting a movie
  • 3. Staying up late (especially on the weekend)
  • 4. Going out for ice cream
  • 5. Buying a special toy or other item your kid wants

How do you successfully withdraw the program?

A parent needs to decide on how many tokens a kid needs to earn for him or her to exchange the tokens to get their real  reward. The parent must also be consistent with the goals of the program and know when to withdraw the token once the behavior has become integrated in the child’s day-to-day routine.

With the implementation of a token economy, you will not only change the behavior of your kids, but also raise responsible kids who will help build a better 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