Many parents use reward charts as a fun way to keep their child’s behavior in check, and have done so over a period of time, while other parents start with a reward chart as a last resort when their child’s behavior has become intolerable.
However it is that you came to the decision to start using reward charts for your children, rest assured that it can be an effective behavior change tool when used fairly and diligently, and more than likely you come into the reward plan with some behavior change goals in mind.
Maybe you’re at your wits end with a child who refuses to eat, or another who has bedtime issues, or maybe you just want a parenting tool which can help you gently encourage your child toward more appropriate behaviors.
An important element of successfully using reward charts for children is to have behavior change goals set in place BEFORE the reward chart has started. The behavior change that you wish to target when using reward charts might be obvious in the case of a poor eater or a bedtime tyrant, but outside of a few common behavior issues such as these, many of us might be challenged to find a significant number of behavior change goals that can be targeting with a reward chart.
Sometimes you can find inspiration by watching your own child’s bad behavior, or good behavior you wish to encourage, or even by observing the interaction between your child and others, or by recognizing traits in others that you would like your child to follow.
Examples of Behavior Change Goals When Using Reward Charts:
- using manners
- going to bed without hassles at bedtime
- using tissues rather than your sleeve
- sharing with friends
- brushing teeth
- eating all your dinner
- allowing others to go first
- getting dressed quickly
- picking up toys and clothes
- reduce whining
- no more thumb sucking or nail biting
- no arguments at bath-time
- controlling tantrums
- not interrupting when others are speaking
- completing homework on time
- completing chores
- no more fighting with brothers or sisters
- showing kindness to others
- getting ready for school on time
- helping when not asked
- respecting the property of others
Of course this list of behavior goals could just about be infinite, and you’ll notice that it includes not only behaviors that you want to get rid of, but also those positive behaviors you want to encourage. The list of behaviors that you come up with for use with your reward charts will be specific to your child, but might include many of the examples given above.
Also if you think back to the reward chart rules, you’ll remember that it’s best to only target one or two behavior change goals at a time, otherwise you run the risk of overwhelming your child and lessening the chances of success with the reward charts.