Wife Ninja and I have had some pretty interesting discussions the last few weeks, specifically in regards to establishing reward systems. And whether or not its a a good idea to implement one in the classroom? The conversation stems from her kindergarten teaching experiences. She has kids in her class that are demons from hell problematic, and others that are perfectly poised. Kindergarten is an interesting age as the kids are old enough to understand the difference between good and bad, but too young to understand that putting scissors in your mouth (or eating glue) is probably a stupid decision.
Wife Ninja is having a hard time controlling a few of her students. They wont follow rules, they constantly disrupt class, and have no respect for any authority figure (including the principal). WN has done everything just about everything she can to try and control these kids. They just won’t have it.
The other day, WN, came home with a bag of skittles. I figured she must really love me and wanted to get me a little treat. Wrong! They weren’t for me. They were for her kids.
Turns out, Wife Ninja’s school counselor suggested establishing a reward system in the classroom; making examples out of the good students, in hopes that the spawns of satan difficult children will model the angelic children’s behavior. Kids that show consistent “good” behavior will be given skittles randomly as a reward.
I get where the counselor is coming from, but should Wife Nija implement a reward system for behavior that, I personally believe, should just be expected? I mean, I didn’t get rewarded for making the bed this morning, it was expected of me. So why should Timmy be rewarded for keeping quiet when the teacher is talking?
Here’s how I like to envision things. When I have Kid Ninja’s they will be assigned chores. Things like walking the dog, taking out the trash, keeping their room clean, etc. Will I pay my kids an allowance for doing these things? Absolutely not! They are members of the ninja household, and as such, need to pull their weight. I don’t want them taking out the garbage because they will get $5 for it, I want them taking out the garbage because it’s part of their familial responsibility. I’m not going to reward behavior that is expected.
That said, there will be opportunities for them to perform “extra tasks” for an allowance. Things like pulling the weeds, washing the ninjamobile, filing daddy’s taxes for him. You know, things that are above and beyond the family expectations.
It’s these same beliefs that lead me to conclude the counselor’s Skittles strategy is flawed. If I was the teacher, they’d only get delicious treats if A) I hadn’t eaten them already (which I probably would have), or B) they did something out of the ordinary to deserve them (things like organizing the classroom library, helping the teacher hand out materials to other students, etc). Not for things like being quiet.
Ultimately, Wife Ninja will do what is best and what works. She knows her classroom and kids better than the school counselor and better than myself. My wife is torn. She doesn’t believe the skittle technique is the best option, but right now it might be her ONLY option as she HAS to find a way to get these kids to behave! Nothing else has worked.
How would you deal with the hard kids if they were in your class? Do you think the counselors Skittle method is as jacked up as I do, or are skittles the solution to all our world’s problems?
For you parents (or future parents), how do you implement rewards and allowances in your house? What behavior should be expected of a five year old and what should be rewarded?
EDIT: Understand that Skittles was just the example given by the counselor, not necessarily what Wife Ninja would use. She could use stickers/pencils/silly bands etc as rewards. It seems many readers got hung up on Skitlles and missed the point of the article. It wasn’t to focus on what the rewards was, but rather should a reward even be given. Sorry for not making it more clear in the original post.
P.S. Make sure to look at my other post today as I’m giving away one of the sickest PF shirts you will ever see. Ever!!!!