I have a two and a half year old and an almost five month old. They keep me BUSY and on my toes! We had been having some behavior issues out of our toddler, and time-outs just weren't cutting it. That's when I decided that positive reinforcement is the key! A pat on the back, a hug, encouraging words- those are all positive reinforcement. However, we needed more! Enter, the sticker chart. Here are some tips for you if you want to make one as well.
CONTENT OF CHART
- To make your sticker chart appropriate for your child, you first need to determine what you WANT them to be doing (not what you don't want them to be doing). It should be attainable- for example, I didn't put on there that my 2 year old should be loading her own dishes in the dishwasher!
- The older the child, the more items you can add. Keep it super simple for under 2, maybe three categories. For my 2.5 year old I have 7 which is borderline too many!
- Some sample categories on mine: Use the potty, Play nicely with Stella (her sister), Obey Mommy and Daddy the first time, Clean up some toys, Share something, Be polite, Wake up in your own bed.
|Place it in the location you spend the most time in!|
USE OF CHART
- If you notice my categories above you will notice the category "Be polite". This was my catch-all category, so I give her a sticker for that one if I notice anything positive that she does that isn't on the list. So if she does something kind for someone (pick up something they dropped, help someone on her own, comfort someone who is sad, etc.) I give her a sticker here. It is also for the obvious-saying please and thank-you, and asking nicely for something. You want to be sure you reinforce all positive behavior!
- Do NOT "set them up". This is for when they genuinely do something on their own. For example, don't put pressure on them by saying "you have to clean up your toys or I won't give you a sticker." Can you see how this makes the chart a negative thing kinda?
- Do NOT take stickers away. If she earns a sticker for playing nicely and gently with her baby sister, but five minutes later throws something at her, I don't take away the sticker. She earned it fair and square!
- Anytime I see her do something on the chart, she gets a sticker. If we are out and about, I keep track of them and she gets to put them on when she gets home- this is so exciting for her!
|My lovely drawings! Check out the awesome beard I drew on my hubby :)|
SET-UP OF CHART
- I put her name at the top "Lola Jane's Chart!"
- I used a ruler to make boxes, in this case seven down and four across.
- Write in a simple sentence the category, and draw a picture if they can't read. You will notice that my artwork is not spectacular, but its enough to help her know what is what. If you REALLY can't draw at all, print off some clip art that you find online or cut pictures out of a magazine.
- I wrote the numbers one through six in each box. A sticker will go on each number as she earns them.
|30 cent prizes from Target!!! Love when they do 70% off!|
- For a younger child, you should keep the rewards simple and fast to earn. For the very young, the sticker itself is sometimes the only prize needed! As they get older, move to three stickers equals a prize. For LJ, she has to earn six in a category to get a prize. You might decide to do a total number for the day, but I go by category. So if she gets 6 stickers in the "Play nicely with Stella" category, she gets a prize.
- Does your kid bug you for stuff at the grocery store, the department store...everywhere you go? Well if it is in your price range, make the answer "Okay, we will buy this to put in your prize box". LJ earned a pair of swimming goggles really fast one day because of this!
- Keep an eye on Dollar General clearance, Target dollar section clearance and the like. I just got her about 15 things that she will love from the Target dollar section for 30 cents each because they had it all marked 70% off.
- Put in "coupons" for things they would want. Maybe its staying up an extra ten minutes, a special outing with just mommy or just daddy, or TV time.
- I stay away from using any type of food or candy as a reward. I read an article about this possibly contributing to eating disorders or bad eating habits and it made sense to me. This is a personal opinion, obviously you can do as you choose!
- This doesn't need to cost a bunch of money (or any if you do the coupon idea) nor should it. The point isn't to get them addicted to earning stuff.
- When the ENTIRE chart is finished, have a family celebration! A trip to the bowling alley, Build-A-Bear, or the Zoo would be a fun way to celebrate. Then its up to you if you need another chart or if their good habits are engrained enough to not need one!
|Mommy's reward- my babies getting along and smiling!!!|
I hope this helps you with your toddler! Please comment below with your own category ideas or your own take on the sticker chart. I know a lot of you have some great ideas for something like this! :)