Behavior charts are great tools for encouraging children to work on positive social skills. Adults love behavior charts because they help with consistency. Kids love behavior charts because they help others take notice of their hard work. If you decide that a behavior chart is something you’d like to try, there are just a few things to remember:
• Keep it simple! Behavior charts can vary by age. For a younger child, the simpler the chart, the better. This might mean they have one task to focus on each day, such as hanging their coat up after school, and once it’s completed that day, the chart gets a sticker. Out of stickers? Have them color in the chart with a crayon for that day, which can be just as rewarding. For school-age children, consider starting with one task a day, and when they get used to using the behavior chart, add another.
• Keep it positive! Behavior charts are for increasing positive behaviors. Concentrate on increasing positive behaviors, and naturally negative behaviors will decrease. If you’re getting frustrated that your kiddo keeps leaving his toys all over the living room when he comes to the dinner table, your target behavior should be “Putting toys away before dinner,” not “Stop leaving your toys out when you come to dinner.” Positive word choice leads to positive outcomes!
• Keep it fresh! Behavior charts can be modified and used in creative ways as well. For example, does your chart keep falling off the fridge and getting lost? Try using a jar instead, and rewarding your child with a token of your choosing, like marbles or gems, each time you see the positive behavior. If your child gets bored with the behavior chart as he gets older, or his interests change, change up the reward, such as switching out those old smiley-face stickers for new, cooler superhero stickers. Eventually you might find that your child is at the age where he will understand that a full week of stickers gets him a visit to one of his favorite places.
• Keep it going! Remember, with any behavior intervention, consistency is key! If you forget to reward your child for putting his shoes in the closet when he gets home he’ll probably start forgetting to put them there. With consistency, your child will look forward to using the behavior chart every day, and better yet, will get excited to do the things that lead to getting stickers on the chart! A child that’s excited to clean, to listen, to share?! That’s the ultimate goal of the behavior chart. So, keep working at it, and eventually you and your child will make a great team!
What are some fun behavior chart rewards your child enjoys?