The power of the "penalty box" behavior chart

Learn about: The power of the "penalty box" behavior chart from Alanna Levine, MD,...
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The power of the "penalty box" behavior chart

Kids are very visual people, so I often find that charts for good behaviors and not so good behaviors are an effective way of communicating your message with your child. So one of the ways I recommend is to have a big chart that looks like a ladder. And the child starts in the middle. Together with your child you come up with a list of 5 possible rewards for good behavior, and those go at the top of the chart, and 5 punishments for poor behavior. Each time your child does something good, they can move up a rung on the ladder. But each time they do something not so good they can move down on the ladder. And I like the ladder because it sort of gives to the message to our children that we're not perfect all the time. Sometimes we're good, sometimes we're bad, but overall, most of the time, we need to be good. If your child is consistently good and moves up the rungs of the ladder to the top, then they get to choose one of those predetermined special treats with you. If, however, they're not behaving, they have a week of a lot of misbehaviors, they move down the rungs to the penalty box. And that's where one of the consequences that they predetermined and they chose will actually come to fruition.

Learn about: The power of the "penalty box" behavior chart from Alanna Levine, MD,...


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Alanna Levine, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York-based pediatrician and a mom of two children.  As a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Levine frequently appears on television and in print speaking about breaking medical news and common parenting topics.  Dr. Levine is also a contributor for, on the board of advisors for, and on the executive committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Communications and Media.Dr. Levine sees patients at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in New York and is on staff at Nyack Hospital and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.   She completed her internship and residency at the Mount Sinai Hospital, received her medical degree at Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel, a master’s degree in medical sciences from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.

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