help4yourfamily

Create the family you want to have

Trash Your Behavior Charts!

Kids (film)

Kids (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a pet peeve as both a parent and as a clinician about behavior charts.  You know, those charts where kids get stickers for doing things they are supposed to be doing anyway, and then they get a treat or prize for doing it enough times?  I am aware this opinion may be upsetting to some clinicians and especially school professionals where behavior charts are relied upon so heavily.  As a parent, I just think they are annoying and hard to follow for me.  As a clinician, I believe they set up a tit for tat system in a family where everyone starts measuring who did what when.  For my parents with children with attachment disorder they are especially frustrating because by the time a child has earned the prize, you might feel as though you are so angry about all the work it took for you to get them to do the chore/ desired behavior that you don’t really feel like giving them anything.  Sometimes kids make you sorry you gave the prize after the fact by deciding now that they earned the prize they don’t need to do anything for a while.  What a pain.

I have a much better alternative to traditional behavior charts.  It’s the only one that works and it requires little effort from you!  This will take all of two minutes of your life.  Here’s how it works:

  1.  Take a piece of paper and write down one or two (I would only do a couple at a time because it’s easier to keep track of) things your child does that bug the heck out of you i.e. lying, “forgetting” to do their chores, sassing back.  Pick something that is realistic for their developmental level.
  2. Think of a few prizes you might like to earn that involve self-care: a massage, getting a cup of tea with a friend, take a long bath, etc.
  3. Let your child know that you are now giving yourself a behavior chart.  When you are able to successfully handle this behavior from your child in a manner you feel is appropriate (without you yelling, whining, engaging in a back and forth battle), you get a point!  Decide how many points you need to earn to get a prize.   Tell your child that when they engage in that behavior from now on you (not they) will earn a point.
  4. When they do engage in the behavior, calmly remark on what an opportunity this is for you to earn points so you can take care of yourself.  It’s important for parents to take care of themselves when kids are giving them a hard time.  You can wonder aloud how long it’s going to take to get your prize.
  5. This is the most important step.  Follow through!  When you earn your points, do the thing you said you would do to take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it.  Remember you picked things you like to do so perhaps they can help you now.

I have successfully used this “behavior chart” with many parents now and I have used it myself.  It works like a charm.  I used it with my own daughters who kept coming in at night to have me take them back to bed when they had their normal cycle of lighter sleep.  I modified it so that if one kid came in, she earned her sister a point!  Guess who sleeps without interruption for weeks at a time?  This lady, right here does! J  It’s really a win-win either way since even if you don’t get the desired behavior right away (and you will because kids get annoyed at the idea of earning you a prize) you at least get some self-care.

April 5, 2012 - Posted by | attachment, discipline, help for parents | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) Rate this: Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintRedditPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    Pingback by End the Hassle! Tell kids what they deserve. | help4yourfamily | April 30, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) […]

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  3. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintRedditPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    Pingback by Monday is Parent Affirmation Day at Help 4 Your Family! 6/11/2012 | help4yourfamily | June 11, 2012 | Reply

  4. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) […]

    Pingback by You Never Have to Say “No” Again! | help4yourfamily | July 5, 2012 | Reply

  5. […] to use the suggestions from my post Trash Your Behavioral Charts! by making a chart for yourself where you earn points by handling your child’s nasty behavior […]

    Pingback by Taming the “Nasties” in Your Child- Part 2 « help4yourfamily | August 2, 2012 | Reply

  6. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) […]

    Pingback by Quick Jobs for Kids – help4yourfamily | March 21, 2013 | Reply

  7. […] Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com) […]

    Pingback by Happy Parent Tip #1 « help4yourfamily | February 28, 2014 | Reply


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