A reward chart is a great tool which enables any parent to encourage good behaviour in their child. This is an ideal way to use positive reinforcement ? reward the good behaviour and it is more likely to be repeated.
A good reward chart has the days of the week listed along one side and a few tasks along the other side that you would like your child to complete. Each day, your child gets a star, tick or sticker against the task, if it is completed. These work well with a broad list of tasks for older children, for toddlers, you need to keep it simple. Even young children can understand the concept of the reward chart given time and good explanation.
You can buy reward charts, but making your own is simple and often works better because it is tailored to your child. Creating a reward chart is an activity you can do alone or with your child. Getting your child involved in the process of designing and making the reward chart can make it even more effective when you are using it. You can select a theme that your child will respond well to ? so for your budding astronaut you can choose planets and rockets, for the car-mad toddler, collect wheels or move a car along a track as your child progresses. The only limit is your imagination.
Older children should help you set the tasks in the reward chart. Make sure they aren?t too easy or out of reach; a range of difficulty is best. For toddlers, simple is better so choose two or three tasks that you want your toddler to work on. Don?t overload them or they will lose interest. Try to vary the tasks too and remember they don?t have to be too specific ? if your child is having trouble learning to share their belongings, then you can put ‘sharing my toys? on the chart. When you see your child making a good effort to share, add a star or sticker to the chart as part of the praise you give to reinforce the good behaviour.
If you remove a star as punishment for bad behaviour, you are undermining the reward chart by taking away from the child’s previous achievement. So if your child earns a star and then does something naughty, you don?t want them to feel that the naughty behaviour is more important than the good behaviour. So never take away a reward. Instead use the reward chart to focus on the good behaviour, promoting the type of behaviour you want to see from your child.
When your child reaches a certain number of stars, give a reward in the form of a small toy, treat or day out. It can help, especially with older children, if you give a small prize as a motivational tool when they reach 10 stars and then a bigger prize when they reach a big milestone, say 30 stars. Agree these rewards with your child if they are of the age to understand, their participation will add to the effectiveness of the chart.