Benefits of a Token Economy

A token economy is like currency for children. A token economy is a system of reinforcement where “tokens” such as stickers or other items are given for displaying positive behavior(s). When a child earns a certain number of tokens, they can trade these for rewards such as toys, treats or preferred activities. Our Mentors work with our members to give them the skills they need to be able to learn good habits and build on these skills in and outside of our facility.

Our Mentors provide skill building activities and new strategies to help identify and replace negative behaviors with positive ones. A token economy allows for a positive reinforcement of good behaviors. This reward system teaches kids how to delay gratification by working towards a goal. Parent and child work together to come up with a goal and tangible ideas on how to achieve this goal. This allows the child to work on smaller objectives and succeed. This also allows for your child to learn to focus and follow through in order to earn their reward(s).

A token economy is a great opportunity to practice delayed gratification. Rewarding your child’s good behavior helps them learn to control their negative impulses to receive a reward. An example of delayed gratification is telling your teen if they earn As and Bs in class for their final report card you will take them out to dinner at their favorite restaurant. Both of you can discuss ways on achieving this goal, increasing study time, less screen time, daily/weekly check-ins, etc. This is also a chance to help kids learn from mistakes they make. For instance, not spending enough time studying or doing homework results in not getting rewarded. If he or she does reach their goal, be certain that you honor your promise and reward them accordingly. We understand the importance of skill building and promoting strategies to learn positive behaviors.

Our sites have started implementing this system with our members try to make it fun and educational. CCSN members can earn paper bucks for helping set up an activity, cleaning up voluntarily, and using positive coping skills. Members decorate a bank, where they store their bucks. Based on how many bucks they have earned during the week, members can go to the “Buck Store,” and pick a prize weekly, and even save up for another prize during several weeks to a month. Through game play and various other activities kids can practice impulse control. With practice, over time these behaviors can improve. We can work with you and your child to come up with more examples and ideas that you can implement in your household.