If your child is struggling with certain behavioral issues, help can be as simple as a tactic many parents swear by: incentive charts.
There are various types of incentive charts you can use from. Some are simple, with stickers and without too many categories, which are perfect for young children, including toddlers and preschoolers. Others, such as chore tracking charts, can be used for older children.
Parents and even teachers have, for decades, used incentive charts to motivate kids and encourage them to exhibit positive behavioral traits, such as saying “thank you,” finishing their homework on time, making their own bed, helping out a classmate, and so on. Although some worry that using charts and stickers get kids to behave well only in hopes of a reward, this method can, in fact, provide a strong framework for young children to develop long-term good habits. The catch? It needs to be implemented in the right manner.
Here are a few tips to use incentive charts in the right manner so that it works for your kid:
- Clearly determine and describe the behavior you want to target
- Choose a chart
- Set the ground rules
- Keep it positive
- Be consistent
The best way to encourage a positive behavior is to be clear about its description so that your child understands. You want to be as specific as possible. For instance, instead of setting a goal like “clean your room,” you can say “fold your laundry,” “put your toys away,” and so on.
Depending on your child’s age, interests, and hobbies, you can choose from an assortment of incentive charts online. Hang it up on the wall, somewhere your child can see it every day and measure their progress. Keep in mind that older children might want it to be put up somewhere more private, like their bedroom.
Let your child know how the chart works. Tell them that doing their chores or displaying good behavior will earn them a sticker. If you want to incorporate more short-term rewards, you can say that after, say 10 or 15 stickers, they will get something bigger, like a new toy, movie night, and so on.
The idea behind incentive charts is positive reinforcement. Avoid using negative language. Avoid words like stop, don’t, no, and quit, among others. If your child doesn’t earn a star, do not pursue that matter any further. Also, in case of bad behavior, do not punish them by taking a star away. Focus on encouraging them to do better.
When your child behaves in a desirable manner, no matter if it is only once or more than once a day, reward them immediately with a star on the chart. Consistency is key.
You can make this process more fun and exciting for your little one with colorful incentive charts, like our Personal Incentive Chart- Butterfly. We also offer charts that are perfect for chore tracking, such as the Job Chart- Child Organizer. Browse through our online store to take your pick from vertical calendars, horizontal charts, and more.