Parenting has become its own beast in the 21st Century. Throwing birthday parties not only mean planning how you can entertain the attendees, but what to give them to take home. Sending your child to school often feels like you are sending them to a daycare to ingest large amounts of unnecessary information. A child’s schedule is more complex than learning chemistry. And discipline has opened the way to rewards, because positive reinforcement is better than negative. Gone are the days that you can beat your child into submission, you must figure out how to get your child to do what you want by reinforcing their good behavior before punishing the negative.
Do a simple Google search and return over 4 million results for reward charts. From chore charts to event charts, there really is a chart for everything. I’ve tried a lot of them. By trying, I mean, I printed them out, got all the requisite supplies (stickers or markers) and posted them prominently on a primary wall of the house. After all of my hard work, the charts sat empty for a long time ~ no less than a month, before I decide to take them down.
Granted, I know they work. The few times that I have actually tried to do it, some behavior changed, but it was never exactly what I wanted. The problem with a lot of the charts is that I have to be ready and cognizant any time my child did that EXACT thing. Plus, with the age gap between my eldest and the next (11 and 3), I had to have different charts for different children and then had to remember what each of them did that gave them a reward.
Until I came up with a new reward chart ~ a very simple chart. My children get a star every time they:
- Do their chores without asking. These chores can include scheduled chores, or impromptu chores, like cleaning the table after a snack. For the little ones, it’s taking their plates to the kitchen without too much fuss.
- Are nice to their siblings. I’m sure you’re thinking, being nice is a given, right? I wish. I don’t remember the last time we went an entire day without someone just being straight mean to another one. Between fighting, pushing, or screaming, my kids get into it ALL.DAY.LONG. I’m willing to pay one, if not two, stickers for peace and quiet.
- Go out of their way to help. As many places as I try to go to keep them entertained, when one helps another get ready, a star is given. Talk about peace and quiet, when one gives another a toy or even turns on the television to make another person happy, a star is given.
- Choose to keep themselves occupied. Sometimes the children wake up way before I’m ready, even before my husband gets up for work. Find something to do, get a star.
- Make me look good in public. Let’s be real, we’re all subject to criticism from those judging eyes in the store. Come when called, stop when asked and don’t act a fool, and you get a star.
What are the rewards? Often they aren’t much. Sometimes, it’s getting a star on their shoulder as well as on the chart. For my toddler, she’s decided that every five stars, she wants a piece of bubble gum. Granted, it’s hard to get her to make it to five stars, but I’m completely willing to fork over a bubble gum or two to get her to calm down. Every 20? They each get a dollar. Only my son is raking in the cash, yet they all seem to be on board.
[bctt tweet=”Rewarding your child shouldn’t take rocket science. Try this simple, easy to use reward chart”]
We’ve successfully kept this chart going for the last two months. We’ve been consistent and haven’t felt pressured to put a sticker on every day, yet they keep on going!
Do reward charts work for you?