What is a reward chart?
A reward chart is a type of tool used to change the behavior of children. This chart comes in different forms including apps, reward chart printables, and more. A reward chart for kids shows or identifies a specific goal or positive behavior that you want the child to achieve.
The chart will serve as a record of how your child progresses towards his behavior goal. The template is only part of a reward system for kids wherein you would place a sticker or some sort of symbol o the chart whenever your child performs a good behavior. After receiving an agreed-upon number of stickers or symbols, you can give your child a reward for his efforts.
How do reward charts work?
The main reason you would start using kids reward charts is when you want to change some of their behaviors. In the reward chart, your child will collect stickers, tokens or positive symbols each time he behaves in a good way. Then you can come up with a reward system for kids wherein you give a reward based on how many stickers the child has collected. These stickers along with the rewards the child receives serve as the reinforcement of the positive behavior.
If you’re trying to change your child’s negative behavior, a reward chart template can provide a visual representation of how well he’s doing. Pair this with a lot of encouragement, and you can keep on motivating your child to keep on doing well. Also, a reward chart for kids can help parents and teachers focus on the child’s positive behaviors. This can be very helpful if you’re starting to feel frustrated by your child’s negative behaviors.
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How to make a reward chart?
If you don’t know how to make your own reward chart printable, you can download one from here. Then customize the template to suit your own needs and the preferences of your child. Of course, you can also make your own kids reward charts based on what you think will keep your little one motivated.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to make a reward chart, there are many to choose from. Usually, parents and teachers create a simple chart then draw stars on it each time their child or children perform a positive action. If you’re planning to make your own chart, here are some ideas:
- Refrigerator magnets
Print out a reward chart template on a piece of paper then stick in on your refrigerator. Then purchase a set of small-sized refrigerator magnets and use them to indicate a good behavior done by your child.
- Drawings or stickers
You can also use drawings and stickers as a replacement for the magnets. You can either draw a chart or use a reward chart printable. Then each time your child does something good, either draw a positive symbol on the chart or place a sticker on it.
- Reward box or jar
Get an empty jar or box and label with appropriately. Then set aside a collection of objects such as marbles or small balls to indicate the rewards. Each time your child performs good behavior, allow him to add one of the objects to the container.
Setting up your reward chart
It’s important to change a child’s negative behaviors as early as possible. It’s also important to recognize, encourage, and reinforce positive behaviors if you want to change the negative ones. A reward chart can be very helpful in such cases. When setting up your chart, here are some pointers:
- Choose one or a few behaviors that you want to encourage or change
Once you’ve chosen the behavior/s you want to improve, use positive and easy to understand statements to describe them. This is especially important if you’re working with younger children.
- Set up your chart
We’ve already gone through some ideas of charts you can use. If you have younger children, you can involve them in the process of designing the chart or choosing the indicators. If you have older kids, you can ask them to design their own chart. Either way, you have to create a chart which will keep them excited and motivated to go through with the whole reward system for kids.
- Choose a number of short-term rewards
Most of the children want to have small tokens or stickers as their reward, especially at the beginning. But such incentives may lose their appeal after some time. So, you need to choose a number of short-term rewards which will make your child feel happy and enthusiastic each time he/she earns them.
- Place the reward indicators right after they show the good behavior
When you place the stars, stickers or other indicators directly on the chart right after your child shows good behavior, this serves as positive reinforcement. Pairing this with kind words and phrases further reminds your child to keep on performing the behavior to get all these great rewards.
- Maintain positivity all throughout the process
Even if your child isn’t able to earn a reward for the day, try to maintain your positivity. There’s always tomorrow to do better. If you punish your child because he wasn’t able to show the good behavior for that day, you might end up rendering your chart and all of your efforts useless. Just keep encouraging your child and show him/her what behavior you want to see.
- Don’t stick with the chart for too long
Finally, don’t keep using the chart for a long time. If you so this, your child might become dependent on the rewards or he will lose interest in doing the behavior because he’s bored with the system. Once you see a consistent positive change, you may start phasing out the chart gradually. Either that or you can create a new chart which focuses on a different behavior.
Tips for using your reward chart as a positive tool
Trying to achieve a goal in order to get a reward is a part of life even as we grow older. Even when we work, we do our best to keep our job and keep on earning to support ourselves and our families. Of course, we also do some things in our life without the motivation of getting rewarded. We do this because we feel intrinsically motivated to do the right thing.
But when it comes to children, rewards always work better for them, especially if they haven’t learned intrinsic motivation yet. But if you plan to use a reward chart to motivate your child, make sure to do this carefully. Otherwise, you might end up teaching your child to only to good things if they’re offered a reward for it.
This tool is only one part of teaching your child good values and good behaviors. If you want to get the most out of your reward chart templates, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- From the beginning, talk to your child about his behaviors. Tell him that there are certain behaviors which he needs to change and tell him why.
- Select a few of the “worst behaviors” that you want your child to change through the reward chart. For younger children, you may have to work through these behaviors one by one so you don’t end up confusing them.
- If you’ve already made the chart, show it to your child. If you want to involve your child in the process of making the chart, then ask him/her to help you with it. Upon completion of the template, explain how the chart works. If your child helped you make the chart, you can allow him/her to place the first star as a reward for helping you. This will provide your child with a sense of ownership, satisfaction, and achievement.
- Come up with an agreement of how many stars your child needs to get in a specific amount of time to get rewarded.
- Base the kind of reward to give according to how many stars your child received in the amount of time you’ve set.
- Keep using the chart until you’ve seen a real change in the behavior. As soon as your child has established the positive behavior, you can either stop using the chart, or you can change it to achieve a different goal.
- Make sure that the chart you make is simple, measurable, achievable, and specific.
- You can add pictures on the chart which show the behavior you want to reinforce. You can either draw these pictures or print them out.
- Begin with smaller goals which you know your child can easily achieve. This will allow your child to see the result right away and feel motivated by that achievement.
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