Everyone enjoys getting a gold star for a job well done. Children are no different. Behavior charts, or as they used to be called, chore charts, have been used for decades, but there is evidence that they work. These types of charts can help to eliminate unwanted behavior and encourage desired behavior.
Any type of behavior or activity can be added to a chart to track progress. Many times things like pet care, personal hygiene, chores, homework and practice for sports or music are items on a chart. Often times if there is a specific behavior that needs attention, it can be listed as well, but listing it as a positive and not a negative may help produce a better result. For instance, if the child is talking back, list it on the chart as Uses Kind Words, or Says, Yes/No Ma’am. This way they can mark their chart for a positive behavior instead of a negative.
Some charts use a negative approach by listing those behaviors not wanted and when the child reaches a certain amount of “strikes” on the chart, they lose privileges. It may be more effective to work in reverse of that method. It can take three positive remarks or events to counteract one negative remark or event, so by rewarding positive behavior the desired result may come more quickly.
It is important to make the experience fun and enjoyable, or the child will not want to participate. Also, consistency is key. If the child does not see that their efforts are being rewarded, or the chart only is in effect for two weeks, they will not be willing to keep trying. Set realistic expectations, and be ready to adjust those as needed.
Using easily tracked behaviors and simple rewards will make the kids behavior charts program easier on the child and the parent. Sometimes rewards can be as simple as placing the sticker on the chart, or getting to do a special art project. Rewards can also build up over time and earn a special outing video game time, an overnight trip or guest. Choose the chart items and rewards based on what will positively motivate your child to accomplish their goals.
Some people prefer to use a point system where certain behaviors are worth point values. Those points are added up to earn rewards. This may be good for older children especially. Younger children may find great satisfaction in applying stamps or stickers. Whatever the method chosen, give it a good effort for several weeks before giving up.