Step 2: Set Up a Rewards System
There's no getting around it: Your child's efforts to meet her daily report card goals will be driven by the incentives and rewards you provide. To ensure her interest in meeting the goals, let her create the menu of rewards (with your approval) from which she can choose. Rewards can consist of privileges — such as playing a video game — that previously were provided without contingencies. Now she'll have to earn them with good marks on her DRC.
Try grouping rewards so that the most desirable are earned by the highest level of performance — achieving 90 to 100 percent of the possible "Yes" marks on the DRC. Achieving 75 to 89 percent "Yeses" will allow your child to choose from a prize of lesser value, while 50 to 74 percent gains her access to lowest (but still good) group of rewards.
Alternatively, if all the rewards are of equal value, let your child choose three prizes if she achieves the highest level of performance, two prizes if her marks fall in the medium range, and one prize if she scores in the lowest success range.
To acknowledge consistently good behavior, offer your child a larger, weekly reward as well. This reward should be based on the average number of positive marks over the course of the week. Use the same three-tier system of performance and reward levels so that the prizes reflect the week's overall performance.
Weekly rewards might include a trip to the movies or having a friend spend the night. It could also feature progress toward a big prize. For example, if the big prize is a new bicycle, cut a picture of a bike into pieces and give your child a chance to earn a piece each week. When he collects all the pieces, take a trip to the bicycle store.
Younger children may need more immediate rewards in addition to the rewards at home. If your child isn't motivated by the after-school prize, arrange for her teacher to offer a choice of school-based rewards when she meets her goals.