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The Three Best Things About Behavior Charts

Aug 11, 2014

Behavior charts are a wonderful way to motivate kids. Though there are many reasons parents should think about incorporating behavior charts into the home, here are the three best reasons to do so.

Behavior Charts Are Visual

Kids are visual and so are behavior charts. Alanna Levine, pediatrician and author, suggest parents use behavior charts for this very purpose. The charts help children see how they are measuring up to the standards set forth by parents. Levine talks about using a ladder with a prize at the top and consequences at the bottom. Each week the child starts in the middle of the ladder. Depending on their behavior, they can move up the chart to earn a prize at the end of the week or move down because of bad behavior and receive a consequence of their choosing.

Behavior Charts are Effective

If used in the right manner, behavior charts can be an effective way to motivate good behavior. They can also help parents build character and foster responsibility. As Chris Fulton, clinical psychologist, notes, behavior charts become ineffective when parents are inconsistent or do not have rewards that motivate kids to do their best. Parents have to make certain they follow through with the behavior chart on a regular basis. They must also ensure that rewards are reflective of their child’s interest. Parents may want to use things such as ice cream, extra television or electronic time, or even monetary compensation as rewards for doing well.

Behavior Charts Reward Not Bribe

Behavior charts are a systematic way of helping your child change behaviors and are a part of the token economy. For every desired behavior the child is given a token, sticker or whatever has been chosen as collateral. These tokens can then be traded in for prizes. Lisa Gonsalves, behavior therapist, equates bribery to offering a child a reward for an immediate result. Behavior charts instead seek to change bad behaviors into desired ones, and therefore promotes a steady and consistent display of a particular behavior in order to receive a reward. Behavior charts are also methodical in that there are rules associated with rewards and those rules are made clear to the children. So instead of throwing out random bribes to halt unwanted behavior, parents can instead seek to change their child’s behavior through the proper motivational techniques used in the behavior chart. 


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My sister uses behavior charts and absolutely loves it!

I think behavior charts are too structured and I like having more freedom with my kids in how they learn and progress

I like that behavior charts reward children rather than bribing them. It helps make sure they are doing things for the right reasons. 

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