I designed Happy Tokens so obviously I think that they are great. However, I’m not here to persuade you to buy my product I just want to share with you how I got here.
First, I’m not a big fan of stickers. At one point they were the bane of my life and they were all over my house. Sticker charts caused more problems than they solved. The stickers were in the washing machine, on the walls, someone would use someone else’s stickers, or we would run out of stickers, or someone wouldn’t want the stickers they had chosen. It was just a nightmare.
To be fair stickers are given out left, right and centre these days: at schools, doctors, dentists, promotional packs. They have lost their appeal and become disposable within a few hours.
Then there is the collection jar or bowl or box… I find this method a jumble. It’s pretty much along the lines of Guess the number of Sweeties in the sweetie jar type thing. How many times have you been rewarded? Erm 4737?! Nope 17 – feel the disappointment. I’m utterly rubbish at those things. I wouldn’t be able to estimate let alone a child. Personally, I don’t think they represent progress. It’s just an accumulation of ….. well marbles, or pom poms, or cotton balls, which in itself is a little abstract.
Speaking of abstract my next port of call was the App. As a parent this provided some conflict. I tell my children they spend too long on their consoles, tablets, phones and TV’s so encouraging an electronic reward system was a little hypocritical, a concept not lost on the older children. Now I could perhaps sell the idea to the little ones and try something else with the older ones but really? Thanks, but no thanks!
I have better things to do with my time.
The other struggle is that Apps are not real, in that they are not tangible. These rewards just float about in the ether. Of course, you can access them via technology but the younger children just thought it was a game and couldn’t relate it to their rewards.
Moving on I tried reward charts, a table or list of boxes to fill. Quite regimented and structured. I must say at this point that I’m also not a big fan of lists for children (I however, live my life by lists and would be lost without them). But imagine being faced with a list of tasks, or boxes to be completed. A sheet of 7 x 5 boxes to fill. 35 blank boxes gaping at you waiting to be filled. Nothing like a bit of pressure!
So, knowing what I didn’t want helped me decide what I did want.
Take a look: