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Reward Charts for Good Behaviour

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 1 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kids Fun For Kids Behaviour Children

Kids misbehave for a variety of reasons, but there is no reason that learning appropriate behaviour can’t be fun for kids. Children often enjoy a challenge when learning good behaviour and keeping track of their successes on reward charts is a good way to let them see tangible proof of their actions. If you’ve never considered working with reward charts with your kids, read on for some basic answers to frequently asked questions about children and reward charts.

What Are Reward Charts?

Reward charts are items that help parents and kids track the kids’ behavioural choices. Reward charts can be homemade or they can be store-bought or even downloaded from the Internet. At their most basic, reward charts simply have spaces to track each instance of a child’s behaviour. This can be tracked with pencil marks, smiley faces, stickers or stamps so long as both the child and parent can easily see each tally.

How Do Reward Charts Work?

Reward charts work very basically. Parents will choose a behaviour (or two or three) that their child needs to work on and for each instance of this good behaviour the child will receive a mark on the chart. Parents may also decide that for each instance of inappropriate behaviour the child will lose a mark on the chart. For older children, losing a privilege may go along with losing a mark on the chart. When the child is awarded the necessary number of marks, a reward is given. Parents may also want to award a smaller reward along the way, such as when the child reaches the half-way point. The ultimate reward should be something the child chooses, and it should be awarded immediately so that the child recognises the relationship between completing the chart and being rewarded.

Why Do Reward Charts Work?

Reward charts work because they are tangible proof of a child’s good behaviour. They make good behaviour fun for kids in that each time the child behaves well they can literally see their behaviours adding up towards a special reward. Similarly, they can see how bad behaviour moves them away from the reward when a mark on the chart is taken away. In this way reward charts allow children to be acknowledged each time they behave well and still have an ultimate reward to shoot for which encourages still further good behaviour.

When Can I Use Reward Charts With My Children?

Reward charts work best with children who are aged three years and older. This is because children of this age are beginning to be able to make their own choices and understand which behaviours are appropriate and which are not. However, always make sure that when you work with a rewards chart you are clear that you are only discussing the kids’ behaviour, not the kids themselves. This is an important distinction, particularly when kids make poor choices.

Reward charts are easy to use and allow children to see proof of their good behaviour. Parents of children aged three and above may find reward charts helpful in teaching their children to make good behavioural decisions.

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