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How to Create an Effective Reward System for Your Kids

Reward systems are a great way to encourage good behavior in our kids. According to psychologist Alan Kazdin, reward systems use “repeated practice” to make good behavior more routine, no matter what age your child is. So, if you’d like to implement a reward system in your home, here are some ways to go about it.

 

Toddlers and Preschoolers

When it comes to younger children such as toddlers or preschoolers, a simple sticker chart will usually do the trick. Let them choose their favorite stickers and then give them a sticker to place on a chart every time they exhibit behavior you’d like to encourage. Choose one behavior to work on at a time, keeping the goal simple to start.

School-Age

Children who are six years of age or older typically require more motivation than just stickers. You can use a sticker chart to keep track of their good behavior, but you should be giving them a big reward at the end of it. For example, if your child has earned five stickers in a row, you can take them out for some ice cream. If they have a month full of stickers, you can give them an even bigger reward, such as a toy or stuffed animal.

Teenagers

Teenagers aren’t going to be motivated by your typical reward system. Instead, you’ll have to think outside of the box. Consider focus on privileges, rather than items. For example, you can let them borrow your car or go out with their friends for the night after they’ve exhibited consistent good behavior.

Do you want to reward your child for their positive behavior? Then consider getting them a stuffable animal at The Zoo Factory. Look through our inventory or contact us today to get started!

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How to Disinfect Your Child’s Toys

Our children’s toys go through a lot. They’re dropped on the ground, put in mouths, and shoved into the bottom of backpacks. As a parent, you want your children to be able to play with their toys, but you also want to make sure that the germs those toys pick up don’t hurt your kids. Indeed, toys can be germ magnets, with bacteria surviving for long periods of time. To best protect our children, then, we need to regularly disinfect their toys. Here’s how:

Plastic

For plastic toys that don’t run on batteries, the best way to clean them is by sticking them in the dishwasher. If, however, they do have batteries, then you should handwash them with soap and hot water. This should get rid of most surface dirt and germs, but if the toy needs a more thorough cleaning, then add in some vinegar and baking soda to get the job done. Once you’ve finished washing, be sure to rinse the toy thoroughly and let them dry.

Wood

Toys made out of natural wood will warp if you try to place them in a sink full of water. Instead, grab a lint-free cloth and dip it into mild soapy water (such as dish soap or hand soap). Then, wipe the damp cloth along the surface of the wood before drying with a towel. For extremely dirty spots, use rubbing alcohol to break down the remaining dirt and grime.

Knitted toys

Knitted toys such as stuffed animals, blankets, or cloth books can either be hand-washed or machine-washed. If you hand-wash the toys, use lukewarm water and detergent. If you decide to machine-wash them, then do so on the gentlest cycle that your washing machine has. For a step-by-step guide on how to wash your stuffed animals, read over our guide here.

For more tips on how to clean and disinfect your child’s toys, look through our website or contact us today.

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4 Things to Do for When Your Kids Are Stuck Inside

Many parts of the United States have recently been impacted by the coronavirus. In order to protect us, government officials are shutting down large gatherings and closing schools. Unable to go to class or attend games, our kids will likely get bored being stuck at home all day. Here are some things you can do to keep them busy:

Cook up something good

Who doesn’t love the taste of home-made cookies in the afternoon? If you’re spending a lot of time at home, then that means more time for you and your children to cook up some great meals and desserts. It’ll also act as a great way to teach your children some cooking skills that will help them later in life. Just be sure to follow these safety rules when cooking in the kitchen with kids.

Play some games

Playing games with your kids is a great way to spend some quality time with them and keep them busy at the same time. You can get out some board games such as Monopoly or Twister, or you can play games on their PlayStation or Nintendo Switch. You can even do pretend play with stuffed animal for something more out-of-the-box.

Arts and crafts

Tap into your child’s creative side by doing some arts and crafts. You can draw some scenes from nature, paint your favorite animals, or create a scrapbook of all of your favorite family moments. And don’t be afraid to let them get messy—you can always lay down a tarp or a canvas to keep the mess contained.

Read some books

If you’re stuck in the house, one of the best things you and your children can do is to read all of those books that have been gathering dust on your shelf. Even if your child isn’t much of a bookworm, now can be an excellent opportunity to get them into reading. Try to find some books that focus on their favorite subjects, making sure that the reading level isn’t too high or low.

If you’re still looking for things to do in the following weeks, then consider buying a stuffable animal kit from The Zoo Factory. With these kits, you can create your own stuffable animal from the comfort of your own home. Look through our website today to get started.

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How to Teach Your Child to Share

“Sharing is caring,” as the old saying goes, but while most of us adults understand this, our children usually don’t. We often struggle to teach them the value of sharing, especially when it comes to their most prized objects—their toys and stuffed animals.

However, sharing is a vital life skill, and one that we need to teach our children while they’re still young. Here’s how:

Taking turns

The best way to introduce the concept of sharing to your child is by teaching them to take turns. If you force a child to share by taking their toy away permanently, they’ll associate sharing with something negative. Instead, by taking turns, your child will be without their toy for a shorter amount of time, teaching them that giving something away doesn’t mean they’re without it forever. To make it fairer, set a timer on your phone so that each child has the toy for an equal amount of time.

Be a role model

Our children learn most of their behaviors from us. That means if you’d like them to value sharing, you, too, have to share with others. Practice sharing not only with friends and strangers, but also with your child to drive the point home.

Praise positive behavior

It’s easy to scold bad behavior, but many parents often forget to praise good behavior when it happens. If your child just willingly shared one of their toys with a friend or sibling, use descriptive praise to let them know how happy you are. Our children want our approval, and praising their good behavior will make them want to repeat that behavior in the future.

If your child has received a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory, make sure that they let other children in on the fun by sharing their new toys with their friends and family! For more tips, look through our site or contact us today.