In this day and age, your children are becoming more self-aware, and emotionally active which makes them a hundred times more difficult to handle. While most women are handling this for centuries, we know how challenging it can become for you and your child in the modern world. We understand that you – like many mothers - have a dream of raising the model child, and now you can – using a reward chart for your child. The chart will help you and your child set some ground rules, and the visible results will help your child stay motivated about reaching the ultimate goal: positive behavior!
Do stars from reward charts really promote good behavior in kids?
The stars on the reward charts signify a positive change, or an accomplishment. When you reward your child with a star you are marking an accomplishment in their day, week, or month. The stars provide motivation to do better in the future. Every time your child is able to carry out a chore perfectly, you reward him with a star. The next time he starts doing the chores, the previously rewarded star would remind him of the reward. It will be more helpful if you quantify the results, for example if your child is able to achieve 7 stars a week, you will take him out for ice cream on a Saturday!
10 Tips on using a reward chart
1. Narrow Down the Desired Behavior:
You first need to identify the behavior you want to prioritize first. Once that’s done, provide simple and encouraging directions to the kids. Like, "pick all your toys up from the bedroom" is much simpler for the child to comprehend as compared to "organize your space". Similarly, ‘You should always knock before entering bedrooms of others’ would be more affective than ‘Respect the privacy of other people’.
2. Create a Reward Chart:
Parents can select from lots of different patterns of reward charts, or they could even opt for making it on a DIY basis. It's common for older kids to enjoy making their own charts. You can also consider another option, which is to use a smartphone app for it. They're portable and allow you to reward your kid with a well-earned star, even while you're away from home.
Once the chart decision is done with, next up is the sticker and token choice. Older children usually prefer scoring points or marks as an evaluation of their performance, whereas the younger ones will be happy with golden star stickers!
3. Tell Them What They’ll Be Getting:
Identifying the reward to your kid, ahead of time, makes the process considerably more affective. They’ll know what they’re being ‘good’ for, as it brings them more motivation if their favorite marvel superhero action figure is on the line. Another variation of this idea can be to offer them a few given choices that you’ve picked out for them, and they’ll get whichever one they choose upon reaching the target behavior.
4. Short-term Rewards Work Best
Sure, all kids will usually enjoy gathering a collection of these tokens and stickers initially, however, it could get boring pretty fast, while the true promised reward is to be achieved way ahead in the future. Hence, short-term rewards work more effectively, such as a casual permission to stay up late on a weekend, or a family visit to their favorite ice-cream place.
5. Save Up Enough Stickers for the Upcoming Rewards
Make the goal or target clearly known to the child. These targets could be set on a weekly or monthly basis, as the parent may prefer. Make sure your kid knows how many points or stars they need to achieve to get the reward he wants. If it’s a sticker system instead of stars or marks, make sure you have enough of those available with you at all times. The next point will tell you why.
6. Give Them the Stickers As Soon As They Earn Them
It can be demotivating for the child if their hard-earned stickers are delayed. When your child gets the sticker immediately after the behaviour you wish to accomplish, it encourages this behaviour. A particular compliment from you will reassure the reason why he has earned the reward he’s getting. ‘I think it’s honestly great how your sister and you have been enjoying and sharing your toys, your chart deserves a shiny star!’ Immediate recognition will only make handling your children easier as time passes.
7. Staying Positive is Key:
It’s okay if your kid doesn’t earn a sticker or star in a certain time period, just move on, give them room. Don’t use negative statements to punish them, such as ‘I’ll remove your stars from the chart!” - that might incite feelings of stubbornness within them. Instead, work on encouraging them and get their spirit up for trying again. Taking stars away should never be an option for a punishment.
8. Moving on from the Chart
Once you feel like your child has changed for the better, you can start considering to move on from the chart. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop appreciating or acknowledging their progress as you leave the chart behind. To make the process of moving on smoother, increase the length of the targets from daily to weekly, to monthly, and so on.
9. Optional: Evaluate Their Initial Behavior
All children are unique, some of them have behavior that’s more challenging to deal with than others. If that’s the case, you may want to measure the starting behavior before you progress through the reward chart activity, to track the changes you’ve earned through it. This can be done through, say, roughly counting the number of times a child throws a tantrum per day. Compare it with their behavior after two weeks, as figuring out whether the process is effective or not will help solve these behavioral problems.
10. Cut them Some Slack:
It’s called a reward chart, not a punishment chart. As mentioned above, don’t take away what they’ve earned when they’re not behaving well. At most, you could reduce their opportunity of earning future rewards, but that too with a positive tone and message. Let them know they can revert their status if they apologize and show good behavior.
Guide on how to make your own reward chart
While owning a reward chart is the most effective way of reinforcing positive behavior, the question always arises as to what would be the best possible way to get a hold of one. We have an answer for this: a reward chart is very easy to make on your own. When you make a reward chart of your own it can be customized to your own liking with the added bonus of you and your child using this as an excuse to bond, and spend some well-earned quality time together.
You could ask your child what they would want the chart to look like. Some kids might want a space-themed reward chart; others might just want plain colors. You could divide the charts according to chores, and categorize according to the behaviors that you want to focus on. It will become easier if you divide it weekly, so you could tabulate how many stickers did your child get through the week and whether or not they get the ice cream you talked about or not!
For mothers that are unable to take out time for such projects and feel like they aren’t putting enough efforts with their kids, you don’t need to worry. Because if your schedule is tough, and you are unable to sit down and craft your own reward chart, what you could do is search on the internet for printable reward charts, which are available in wide colors, themes, and designs; you could always print one out and use it.
Printable reward charts resources
As we discussed earlier, some mothers might need printable reward charts but the new question is where to find the most perfect reward chart? You could easily find printable reward charts over the internet, but some of the very easily available ones can be found on the following website:
Such websites usually offer two types of charts, one focuses on a specified behavior or priority, while the other ones are more generic and all-purpose. These reward charts are basically templates, that are flexible enough to be easily customizable as per your own needs. They can be personalized with the kid’s name, targets, and their picture. The best part, they’re free!
Reward charts are an excellent way to enforce positive behavior in your child when they throw tantrums or misbehave, get into fights, or just generally do not listen to you; the mere thought of a star sticker and a prize on the weekend could have them straighten up and listen in a jiffy!
While it may sound time consuming to make a reward chart yourself, it is solely up to you whether you spend the time making it or easily downloading one from the internet and printing it out. There are a lot of cases where the reward chart has helped mothers organize and help their kids without using negative reinforcements, we hope you achieve the same!