Thursday, September 08, 2011

Create a Christmas countdown calendar that rewards good behavior

Forget the naughty or nice list, parents and other caregivers can celebrate well-behaved children with a different sort of rewards system -- a good behavior calendar that can be used to mark days of minded manners, exemplary acts or help around the house.

Children often respond well to positive reinforcement. Instead of just reprimanding children when they have done something bad, reward good behavior by focusing on all the things that they do well. A calendar that showcases the days that children were on their best behavior can be a way to showcase all the good things kids do.

Here's how to make a countdown calendar:

1. Purchase and gather supplies for the calendar.

* posterboard

* markers

* construction paper

* glue

* ruler

* pencil

* glitter or other embellishments

* Christmas-themed stickers or pictures

2. Lay the posterboard on the table and use the ruler and pencil to draw the boxes of the December calendar. Outline the calendar grid with markers, if desired.

3. Inside of the boxes, write different "prizes," such as a night out for dinner, a trip to the toy store, staying up an extra hour, etc. You can repeat ideas if you cannot come up with one for every day of December.

4. Cut out construction paper squares the same size as the calendar date boxes. Place a bead of glue at the top of the squares and attach them over the calendar grid so that you cover up the "prizes" but can flip up the construction paper to reveal the prizes when necessary.

5. Mark the calendar dates, 1 through 31, on each piece of glued-down construction paper.

6. Use the rest of the craft supplies to decorate the posterboard so that it is holiday-inspired.

7. Explain to your child that if he or she behaves well on a particular day, the prize beneath that day can be revealed. Then the following day that prize can be redeemed. As the parent you can use your discretion when determining which behaviors warrant a prize. This way you won't have to have all 31 days' worth redeemed.

The calendar will help encourage children to act responsibly and behave during a stressful month when it can be easy to misbehave. It will also serve as a countdown calendar for Christmas and New Year's. Vary the rules according to your household.

If the calendar works well for December, consider making one a few times a year.

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