When To Use A Token Economy System

Did you ever have a sticker chart growing up? Maybe you had a chore chart at home? Did you have a progress tracker at school? I can remember having a reading progress chart at school that once I filled out a certain amount of book certificates that I had read, I received a pizza at a chain restaurant in town. I also remember countless sticker charts used at home to measure my progress of how often I vacuumed and cleaned my room. These are all types of token economy systems.  

What is a Token Economy System

A token economy system can come in many different forms but has the same recipe. A token economy is any type of system that includes items that are received and accumulated in order to purchase or gain a bigger type of reward. Token economy systems shouldn’t be used in every situation and with every child, but they can be beneficial in certain situations. 

What type of child would benefit from a token economy? 

Any child who is able to understand waiting, first/then language or would be able to enjoy gaining a small reinforcer while waiting to obtain a larger reinforcer at the end of a specific time period, will benefit from a token economy system. 

When would it be beneficial to use a token economy system: 

Token economy systems can be used for a variety of skills, tasks or compliance. Token systems can reward progress of a skill, compliance, or appropriate behaviors. If your child has the skills above and could use a type of reward system that shows their progress, this can be beneficial to their daily routine or parts of their day. 

Does this sound like something you would be interested in trying in your home or suggesting to an educator? A simple google search can give you endless options and possibilities of what your child’s token system can look like. Do they enjoy money? Or Star Wars? The sky’s the limit in what characters you use and how you create an enjoyable experience for your child.