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How to Make Reward Charts or Behavior Charts for Your Child

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated April 18, 2017
You can hang your child's reward chart on the refrigerator.

When you have specific behaviors in mind that you want to encourage in your child, a behavioral chart can be an effective motivational tool. Kids often respond positively when they know your expectations and have specific goals to pursue. By laying it all out in a behavioral chart, your child can understand the goals, and you can provide positive incentives to help him achieve those objectives.

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Choose the behaviors you want to encourage, so you can add them to the chart. You can opt to focus on one behavior or list several behaviors, if you prefer to work on several goals at one time. For example, you might focus only on picking up toys every day, or you might choose to encourage better listening, respectful communication and finishing homework.

Make the chart using graph paper, listing the desired behaviors vertically at the left side of the paper. Place the days of the week along the top of the paper, making a column for each day of the week and repeating the days of the week in successive order, depending on the amount of space available on the paper.

Award a star or a sticker if your child succeeds in performing the desired behavior each day. For example, if your child finishes his homework on Monday, he would get a star or sticker in the "Monday" column of the chart. If your child doesn’t work effectively on his homework on Tuesday, he would not get a star for that day.

Determine the rewards for a specific number of stars of stickers on the chart. For example, you might reward your child with a trip to the zoo after she earns 10 stars, or you could buy your child a new book after she earns 15 stars. Tailor the reward to your child; you are likely to know what type of reward would be most motivating to your little one.

Add pictures or photos of the potential rewards to the chart to help motivate your child. This can be especially effective with youngsters in the pre-reading stage. It helps them keep their eye on the prize, so to speak.

Post the chart where your child will see it every day -- the refrigerator or a central bulletin board, for example. Make a big deal about affixing stickers to the chart to help keep your child motivated. The more enthusiasm you show for the process, the more likely your child will be to stick with the program long enough to earn a reward and improve her behavior over the long term.

Things You Will Need

  • Graph paper
  • Stickers

Tip

If the behavior is something that recurs frequently during each day, such as speaking respectfully or not fighting with siblings, create a behavior chart without designated columns for days and simply award the stars or stickers as often as applicable for each desired behavior.

Warning

Keep rewards small and frequent with young children, so they don't lose motivation.

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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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