It's not just for straight-As on the report card, the special plate in our home was used to celebrate all types of special achievements. Recognizing the talents and hard work of each of our children, in ways that were unique to them. But, you want to be careful not to over-use the special plate either. Here is my guide to using the special plate to promote achievement in your kids.
Step 1: How often to use the special plate?
You want the special plate to be for truly special times. The total use will vary based on the # of children, but if you have one child, a good cadence would be 1x per month to every 6 weeks. But don't make it "clockwork," keep your kids guessing.
We have 4 children so the special plate was used a bit more often, but still around 1x per month. It is also ok to have 2 (or more) special plates for those times when several kids have achievements worth celebrating, like good report cards, or when your kids share a birthday like mine do.
Step 2: When to use the special plate?
It is a good idea to write down -- somewhere that the kids can't find it -- what you'll use the special plate for with each child. For your brainiac child, it might be straight As, but for your child who struggles more, a B+ average might be a better choice, or even just an A in math.
You'll also want to celebrate non-academic milestones, below are some ideas:
Trying out a new sports team
Sticking with piano lessons for 6 months
Inviting the shy child at school to eat lunch
Helping out a sibling with a chore
Now, the key is that your child doesn't "earn" the special plate every time they complete an item on the list, but that it is a surprise recognizing positive something they have done. The special plate is a reward, but it isn't earned.