One of the most difficult parts of behavior plans is finding reinforcers that are effective and long-lasting. Many times I hear in meetings that the behavior plan worked for a couple of weeks, but now the student is no longer interested or motivated by the rewards. Most any students will soon become tired of a reinforcer unless it is regularly changed. I find this also true with my own children!
Reward menus are a good strategy to use to prevent this problem. Instead of designing a behavior plan around having only one reward for accomplishing the goal, try letting students select among several possibilities. Depending on the needs of the students, the reward menu could be used at the end of a week, the end of a day, or for especially challenging students, it can be used several times throughout the day. I have typically used a “menu” that has four choices, similar to the one below.
You can make a reward menu for students based on their interest inventories and rotate the rewards every couple of weeks. Many schools have PBIS “dollars” or “bucks” which are a good option for one of choices since typically the students are working towards a bigger “prize”. Rewards choices do not need to be large or tangible…..just being the line leader is a choice that many children may want or making a positive phone call home to their parent. If you are having difficulty coming up with different ideas, here is a list of some different choices.
After you have added the choices to the reward menu, you can staple into a behavior folder, so the student can see their options each day or week. Once they start to become tired of the same rewards, switch it up and create a new reward menu and eventually space out the rewards as the student is meeting their goals. If you would like to check out some different reward menus I created, click HERE.