My son has just started asking for specific toys and saying, “let’s go to the store and buy it!” UGG! So as a way to direct those requests towards my benefit I created a rewards chart. Here’s what I was asking:
- Recite Bible verse
- Pick up toys
- Eat a meal without being asked to take bites
- Show helpfulness
- Show patience
He could achieve each of these things but after he did all of them in a day and wanted to do more I was at a loss. Plus waiting a whole seven days was too long for his little brain to wrap around. That first week went well but I made some realizations along the way that I thought I would share.
Keep it positive – instead of “No Hitting” use “Show kindness”. Then it doesn’t matter what negative behavior they display you can correct them by asking if that was a kind action and what a kind action would look like. It will also provide opportunities for you to notice when they are demonstrating the positive behavior and praise them for that!
Keep it age appropriate – if depends on your child which style of chart will work best. For toddlers focusing on one behavior per chart to make a once miserable routine positive again works well. As the child gets older they have the ability to work on multiple behaviors and won’t need as much prompting from the parent.
Keep it short - many Toddlers can’t comprehend long periods of time so keep it to a week or shorter before they receive a reward. Also, by making early success easily achievable your child will see the result quickly and be more invested.
Keep it fun – make the chart with images of their favorite Disney or TV characters. Use stickers from their favorite movie or animal. Whatever it takes to make them want to use the chart.
Go for their heart – each week I like to work on a character trait to help Little Man learn that he isn’t just picking up his toys because I said so but because he is demonstrating helpfulness. It also helps me be more intentional in looking for situations where Little Man can show me patience, such as when I am on the phone and he’s yelling for my attention. He learns exactly what patience looks like so the next time I ask him to be patient he knows what behavior is expected.
Overall keep it simple, specific, measurable and achievable.
HAVE REWARDS CHARTS WORKED WITH YOUR KIDS?