The carrot of Christmas had erstwhile been enough to dangle in front of Big D to ensure good behavior. Then there was birthday and the peril of party plans postponed. But I was running out of things to playfully barter in exchange for tiding toys or going to bed on time. When, out of the blue and like an answer to my prayers, came the TotsUp Bus – a new kind of reward chart.
I was a little sceptical as to how this would go down – rewards charts have often been a rather ineffective tool in our house – Big D would lose interest in the long term promise of a treat for 20 stars etc or I would forget to dish out the stars at the appropriate time.
We let Big D ceremoniously unwrap her new chart as if it were a gifted toy, assembled it with ease to reveal a wonderful, bright, fun London bus.
Ten magnetic characters are placed waiting, all smiles, at a bus stop ready to hop on. After deciding on the good behaviour to be rewarded (in our case it was going to bed without any drama), and a fun reward (going for fro-yo – her suggestion!), children get to move one happy little person from the bus stop onto the bus each time they succeed in doing what they set out to. Simple easy to grasp concept for these little legends!
The creator, Sally, a teacher and mother of two will also be launching an accompanying App. so that mums on the run can make sure their little ones are beautifully behaved out and about – genius! Also, for those real girlie girls a special edition pink princess bus is coming soon.
I’ve been genuinely amazed at how well Big D has engaged with this uncomplicated but effective piece of kit. Straight away we got back to our 7pm bedtime on the dot, no nonsense, routine. Each morning, she’s in a rush to place her character on the bus and even named the characters after her friends at nursery. She doesn’t see the reward chart as punishment or restraining, this is fun, engaging and above all else encouraging her to understand her boundaries.
We have a strong sense in our family that good behaviour should be really praised and we often tell the girls that good things happen to good people. Each time Big D was able to put a character on the bus she received a big round of applause and so started her day feeling great.
As reward charts are most effectively used on children between the age of 2.5 – 6 years old, sadly Little D is a touch too young, but as soon as she’s ready I know this will be an invaluable tool to gently help us through the terrible two’s and threenager years.
Sally will be launching a crowdfunding campaign next month to bring TotsUp to the market – and I’d be shocked if this wasn’t in a shop near you soon – so keep your eyes peeled if your tenacious toddler or slightly pushey pre-schooler needs some gentle encouragement learning their boundaries, I couldn’t recommend it enough. You heard it here first!
Love Mummy B