Monday, May 16, 2011

App of the Week: iReward Chart

***All iPod touch, iPad and iPhone app reviews on this site are ones that I use with my own children or to integrate technology into my classroom. The apps I recommend are all available at the app store, are high quality and very useful from an educational and a parenting point of view.***

I have a four year old, which means I do a lot of negotiating.  I present choices, I try to anticipate reactions and plan accordingly, I practice patience.  There comes a point, however, when I have run out of deep breaths.  I need help!!!

Hooray for iReward Chart!  It's simple in design, easy to use, and effective.  Put in desired behaviors, chores, and responsibilities, set an amount that each is worth, and add a few rewards that your child can choose from when they have earned enough stars.  All of a sudden you are rewarding desired behaviors rather than reacting to and trying to change undesired behaviors.  Simple psychology applied to make your life a little easier.

There is a lite version downloadable for free.  I found that I very quickly upgraded to the paid version for $3.99.  It can handle more than one child and more than four tasks.  More importantly, it opens more quickly and I don't accidentally click on ads and wind up in the iTunes store when trying to quickly reinforce a positive behavior. 

I am not a person that advocates extrinsically rewarding good behavior all the time.  I certainly don't want my child to behave in a certain way only to earn a star.  However, there are times that children fall into bad patterns, patterns that need to be changed.  Zoe was in the habit of needing to be told multiple times to do things.  She sometimes would completely ignore.  Not fun for me and not something a time-out is effective for.  So I put "Do what Mom and Dad Ask" into iReward.  I added "Set table" and "Get hair brushed without screaming".  Each one is worth a star.  At 10 stars she can trade in for an extra bedtime story or a bowl of ice cream.  We've been doing this for a few days, and I'm already seeing a positive change.  My plan is to keep it up until we are in a new pattern.  Until she has some new habits.  I think 2-3 times earning a reward should do the trick, then I will put iReward away.  I'm sure it will come out again, and I am very glad to have it in my parent tool bag!

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