Raising young kids is tough.
As children grow, they become more independent, curious, and, if I’m honest, more headstrong. Seeing my children blossom into their unique personalities is so much fun — but it’s not as enjoyable to nag them for the hundredth time to put their action figures away or plead with them to please take three bites of their chicken nuggets.
When I had the chance to try Kudo Banz, a fun new tool for encouraging positive behaviors, I was all for it.
Psychologists, experts, and teachers all agree that positive reinforcement is the key to lasting behavior changes. As I raise my four young kiddos (the oldest is in first grade), I’m always on the hunt for ways to encourage good behavior. Doling out constant time-outs and revoking more and more privileges get exhausting. Unlike sticker charts and other reward systems, though, Kudo Banz changes things up by encouraging kids to repeat good behavior. Game changer.
A Bit of Kudo Banz Magic
Here’s what Kudo Banz are, and why they get my Mommy Stamp of Approval.
My sons Joseph (7) and Asher (4) are huge fans. We’ve been using the Kudo Banz Starter Pack, which comes with a band, six Kudo charms, a carrying pouch, app access, and a storybook that helps explain how Kudo Banz works. We also got an extra set of Sports-theme Kudos, or attachable awards.
Joseph and Asher both wear a soft Kudo Banz, a colorful silicone bracelet that you can attach the Kudos on. Whenever I “catch” them exhibiting kind or helpful behavior, they earn Kudos (a fun adornment) to attach on the spots on the band. Once they’ve earned their third Kudo, I scan it with the Kudo Banz app on my phone, which makes the third Kudo “come alive” as my kids say. (The augmented reality is pretty cool!)
That “unlocks” their own customizable reward wheel, which they get to spin. We’ve added little quality-time rewards, like staying up five minutes late, playing a family game, or having a dance party. Each time they spin the wheel, they also move up a level in Kudo World, which reminds me of a magical, interactive Candyland board.
The Kudo Banz come with a book, “The Adventures of Drago & George and the Magical Banz.” The first day we used the Kudo Banz, we piled on the couch and read the charming story, which brings us to two little boys’ adventures with their grandma and cleaning their room. She encourages them to use their imaginations along with the Banz. They pretend Drago and George, their stuffed animals, come to life. Drago, a dragon, and George, a monkey, make appearances as Kudos charms, and they do kind of come to life when I scan it with the Kudo Banz app, something Asher thought was especially amazing. (Aren’t preschoolers so much fun?)
With the program, kids can never lose a Kudo. There’s honestly only one rule to the program: What your child earns, they keep. Kudo Banz is based on well-founded research that focuses on the importance of positive reinforcement.
Once a child earns a Kudo for completing a goal, doing a kind gesture, or being a good listener, the Kudo is theirs to wear until the end of the day. (Instead of taking a Kudo charm away, I usually make a mental note that the next Kudo will not be earned, and I use the tough time as a learning experience to teach my kids how to earn a Kudo for next time.)
Once they get three Kudo charms and the wheel is spun, the reward is earned, and the Kudos charms go back in the satchel for the next day. After about a week using the tool, I’ve noticed my boys getting into the rhythm of cleaning up their toys or brushing teeth without complaining, in hopes that they’d earn a new Kudo. After about another week, I noticed that some of the habits were starting to become more natural, just with a little positive reinforcement.
Joseph and Asher proudly wear their Kudo Banz to school and confidently show their Banz to pretty much anyone who will listen.
It’s super sweet to see their confidence grow, knowing that it’s coming from a place of positive parenting. The charms on their bands are tangible reminders that they can make good decisions. With four kids, our house is a bit chaotic, so I love that Kudo Banz is flexible based on our family’s needs. How often our kids earn Kudos is up to my husband and me. Asher is extra motivated by picking the special Kudo character he wants, while Joseph, who is a bit older, finds extra fun in spinning the wheel on the app.
The Kudos Banz app also sends me occasional reminders with gentle, positive parenting tips. The small, empowering reminders help put me in the right mindset of guiding my kids as they grow. Moms need encouragement, too, right?
Heading into the Holidays
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can make anyone feel a bit frazzled, especially young children. I plan on using Kudo Banz to anchor us as we experience the chaos of traveling and crazy schedules. I’ve also been eyeing the extra Kudo collections for Santa to add to the boys’ stockings this Christmas.
While we don’t do Elf on the Shelf in our home, I could see families incorporating Kudos into the Elf on the Shelf tradition to encourage positive attitudes, improve behavior, and add a little extra magic.
Kids go through phases, and while we might focus on finishing veggies one week, the next night might be putting on PJs without complaining. As your children master each new behavior, you can put the band away, then take it out when you need it for a new behavior. Kudo Banz is always right there with you to be another tool in your mama arsenal.
That’s something I can feel positive about.