Pour la version originale de cette publication (version française), cliquez ici.
Last week, our psychologist recommended a points system to help our family. Many children, especially those with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), need a boost to encourage good behaviour. One of the best and most recommended way to motivate ADHD kids is by a reward system (also called behaviour charts, token or points system).
In a point reward system, the child earns points (or tokens, stars, etc.) each time they behave well. Frequent rewards are crucial as they help recognize positive behaviours and encourage more of them. It focuses on what the child is doing right, rather that what they are doing wrong. After they earn a certain number of points, they can cash in their points and redeem rewards. Kids gradually learn to make better choices through positive reinforcement.
Using a Reward System to Improve ADHD Behaviour
Such behaviour management systems are often recommended by professionals to support complex and ADHD kids. However, they can be hard to set up, use effectively, and for a long time.
User-friendly is Key
I had personally tried a reward system about 3-4 years ago. As a busy mother of 3 kids and working full time, I thought it could help us have a cleaner house with less reminders. I had printed a sheet of paper with a list of tasks. Each task was worth a set number of points. For example, the boys would get points if they put their lunch boxes and stuff away and wash their hands.
Sadly, my point system did not stand the test of time. My sheet of paper would be in the way and would get wet from being on the counter. I manually had to calculate points which was not practical, which were different for each boy. I simply did not have the time and patience to manage this point system.
Finding a Child Reward App
This time, I wanted a minimum set up time with no gimmick! I did some research earlier this week and found some phone apps that we could use to track points and rewards. Our house already has enough clutter, so an app would be perfect since everything is in our phones. Another bonus is that apps automatically calculate the points each time a chore is completed; time-saver!
During my research, I saw many behaviour apps that are allowance-based. I therefore excluded from my list apps that only use money as currency. After all, the system that was recommended to us was point-based, in which we must identify a variety of rewards (not just money).
It ended up being tricky to find apps that included a “point” system, so I thought I would share the ones I looked at, which hopefully could help others.
Chores and Behaviour Monitoring Apps
Because Points Wallet was the first app I found that met all the basic features we were looking for, it ended up being the one we are currently using. It is a very simple and straightforward app.
I later found the apps OurHome and IAllowance, which both have additional features, each with a very different look and feel. Since they are more comprehensive than “Points Wallet”, their learning curve is slightly higher. I might actually switch to one of those two apps.
Finally, the app Kairos was mentioned to us so I decided to check it out. It is totally different; it provides an interactive video game for the child once they have completed their routine. As the app itself is a reward system, it is therefore not based on points and rewards that the family can define. Kairos is available in English and French.
Comparison Chart of Rewards Apps
Once installed, I decided to test the apps out quickly by creating a child profile, chores and rewards. The table below summarizes their key features that are associated with a reward system (other features were ignored).
My Quick Review of Rewards Apps
Once you have chosen the app, an important step is to ensure that the rewards are meaningful to the child. For this reason, it is important to engage the child in the creation of the reward system.
The following are screen shots that I took when I was quickly testing the apps.
That’s it for now! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you plan to use a reward system. If you already use an app for a point system, I would love to hear your feedback. Perhaps I could add it to this list!
If you missed my post about ADHD and Family Stress, I am including the link here. In addition, below are two links that talk about tips and steps to create an effective reward system.
Creating a point system : http://resources.childhealthcare.org/cocoon/dtw/parent-text/adhd/creating_point_system_teens.html
Do’s and Don’ts for using rewards to improve your child’s challenging behavior (by the childhood collective) : https://thechildhoodcollective.com/2021/10/13/10-dos-and-donts-for-using-rewards-to-improve-your-childs-challenging-behavior/