Using reward charts as a form of positive reinforcement is a great way to nip certain behaviours in the bud and encourage others!
They are visually pleasing and allow the kids to really see their progress which is super motivating!
The basic premise of a rewards chart is to track how often your child succeeds in a certain behaviour.
A typical rewards chart would look something like this…
But you could also focus on only one behaviour at a time, such as potty training, staying in bed all night or trying new foods (tip : check out our post on how to encourage fussy eaters to try new things!)
So basically, every time your child accomplishes one of their goals they get a tick or a sticker in the box.
When they receive a certain number of stickers (5 out of 7 for the week for example) they get a reward.
Yes, super simple and also a very powerful way of encouraging positive behaviour and habits or even practising new skills!
Some parents worry that rewarding positive behaviour is on a par with bribing but this is not the case.
Bribes are given before the behaviour you want, they teach the child that they can get rewarded for acting out.
Whereas rewards are given after as an incentive.
Here are my top tips for creating a rewards chart that actually works.
- Make it visually pleasing.
There are SO many printable rewards charts out there. Find one that will appeal to your kid.
Check out our pinterest board for some ideas.
Get your child involved in the process of creating their chart and explain to them what it is for and how it will work.
- Be specific about the behaviour.
‘Get ready for school’ is a bad example of a behaviour because it is just too general.
Focus on smaller tasks such as ‘Brushed my teeth after breakfast’ or ‘Got dressed by myself’
It is also great to get the children involved in creating the list of behaviours to be included. It is interesting to see what they believe they need to work on and what should be rewarded.
Being nicer to your siblings, sharing your toys or being polite are often behaviours we like to see our children imrove on.
See our tips on how to encourage kindness .
- Be specific about the prize.
I’ve used rewards charts for kids of all different ages and I think older kids (6+) should be able to sit down with you and make a list of things they believe to be a good reward.
Identifying the reward in advance is really important so that the kids are incentivised and know what they are working towards.
You could make a list of different rewards that have different values so that they are able to choose at the end of the week based on their ‘score’. Another method is to pick a reward that could happen at the weekend and set a target for how many stickers they need by Friday in order for it to happen. Decide what would work best for your family.
- Set the kids up for success.
This is really important. You want them to feel motivated and not overwhelmed.
Start with smaller, easy to achieve goals that will enable your child to see instant success and feel motivated by the achievement.
Always choose small rewards and set goals that are achievable within a few days to max 1 week.
- Be consistent.
Make sure to stick stickers every day for positive behaviour. If you can do it right after they do something good, even better. Get the kids to stick their own stickers.
If you forget to give out the stickers, there is no motivation for the child to change their behaviour.
- Always remind your child why they are receiving a sticker.
“You are getting this sticker because you did X behavior. Nice job! I’m really proud of you for doing X behavior! Keep it up and you’re going to earn more stickers so you can earn your prize!”