Reward charts for children can be a positive motivational tool to correct undesired behaviors or to work towards a goal. When used effectively, reward charts are fun, interactive and may be a source of pride for your child. Today we’re looking at how to incorporate reward charts for children into your positive discipline techniques at home.
Renowned childhood development specialist Dr. Sears advocates for the use of reward charts for children. As he reminds us, reward charts are used in many settings from schools, to places of business, to show progress and results. Charts can be highly motivating for young children because they are a terrific visual representation of progress. Plus, they help your family focus on positive influences and results rather than dwelling on negatives.
Reward charts are often used as reminders and incentive to eliminate behaviors such as tantrums, bad eating habits and thumb sucking, or to help your child attain a goal like reading for a certain number of minutes or helping out with family chores. Even if these are expected behaviors and accomplishments, rewards charts are designed to encourage them in ways that are meaningful to your child.
Here are some things to keep in mind when instituting reward charts for children:
- Work with your child to set behavior expectations and goals.
- Involve your child in creating the chart.
- Allow your child to update the chart regularly.
- Use fun, interactive ways to mark progress such as connecting dots, adding stickers or filling in boxes.
- Place the chart in a prominent place to remind your child of the expectations and goals and to give your child a sense of pride in her accomplishments.
- Utilize the chart often.
- Establish short-term rewards when goals are met.
Reward charts can be effective starting at toddler years as soon as your little one can understand your expectations and consequences of not meeting them. Remember that rewards don’t have to be expensive gifts or sugary treats. Rather, come up with wholesome alternatives such as one-on-one time with a parent doing an activity your child loves, having a friend over for a play date, or extra reading time at night. Selecting rewards that align with family rules or values is crucial for the long term.
It’s important to note that reward charts are not the “be all, end all” of parenting solutions. Working with your children to resolve issues is essential as well. Reward charts can reinforce what you’re working on together. Also, be sure your children understand that your love is not something they have to earn. Pleasing you with good behavior is not connected to how much you love them because your love is unconditional.
Do reward charts work for your children?
Sources: Ask Dr. Sears, The Mother Company and Empowering Parents