How To Use School Merit Stickers And Certificates To Motivate Children With Special Needs

1. Make the child feel important and appreciated
In some cases, children with special needs have low self esteem and lack motivation. The teachers and parents should therefore use the stickers and certificates to reward good behaviour and not to penalise unacceptable ones. This would help the child realize that there are good things that they can do and that people are happy about them doing those things. Engage the child in fun activities, like involving them in adding the stickers onto a big chart every time they make an effort towards good behaviour, and whenever they score highly in academic activities.
2. Make it easy for them to earn the stickers
Start off with tasks that are not very challenging to the child. The focus should initially be on a few areas where the child does well. Offer the stickers generously such that the child is excited about their doing good things. As they build their esteem and start showing positive improvements, the tasks can be made progressively challenging. As this is done, the reward should also get better either by having the child earn more stickers or bigger rewards.
3. Vary the rewards given
Instead of having the child missing a sticker for failing in a given area, you can vary the number of stickers you offer to reflect the effort the child puts in. The idea here is enable the child to have a positive experience in every situation. For example, if the child has problems in concentrating and settling in class, you can award then three stickers for remaining still in class, not talking during the lesson and taking notes, two stickers for remaining still and taking notes and one for doing one of those positive behaviours even if all the others were not well done.
4. Involve the parents
Make postcards with stickers showing the child’s achievements and mail them to their parents. Ask the parents to make it a big deal for the child receiving the postcard. The student should feel that they are not only appreciated in school but also at home. The idea is to build a desire in the children to earn more stickers and further impress people.
5. Take into consideration what the child loves
To make stickers more effective in motivating the child, take note of what the child loves and include it in the stickers. A sticker with just the words �I Am Well Mannered� may not make much sense to the child. A better idea would be to have the sticker bear those words and an image that is appealing to the child. If the child has a preference of colours, then use those colours that they love. Focus not only in making the child happy about the present they earn but also make it fun for them collecting the stickers.
6. Match the rewards with changing behaviour and abilities
As the child grows and improves, change the sticker chart to reflect these changes. Involve the child in doing this and have them share their ideas about the rewards they would like to receive for their various achievements. As the child grows, other rewards become more meaningful. You could tap into this by assigning gift values to the stickers and have the child claim gifts when they have earned enough stickers. You should also take note of those activities that pose great challenge to the child. It is advisable to eliminate such activities as they discourage the child.
7. Check the magnitude of the rewards
Do not associate school merit stickers with such big rewards that it becomes a challenge to deliver them. You should be able to promptly deliver any gifts that the child earns. If the reward is in terms of cash, make sure that you set aside that cash well in advance and avail it as soon as the child earns it. You should also note that if the reward is so big, such that the child does not succeed in earning it, the experience becomes negative and may further hinder the child from improving.
The idea that should always be at the back of the teacher’s mind while dealing with children with behavioural problems in particular, is that positive rewards should be the main focus. Primary stickers and school certificates are very effective in bringing this motivation. A good idea when using them would be to include their names and images in the design as children of all abilities love that personal touch

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