When tackling a new behavior with this good reward chart, I find an immediate reward for each sticker earned is most effective. So, in the examples above, my daughter would be rewarded as follows:
IF you stay in bed until 6 am, THEN you will get 15 minutes of iPad time.
IF you do your chores without being asked, THEN you will get to read an extra book at bedtime.
IF you get ready for school on time, THEN we will visit the park after school.
Once the behavior has been repeated a certain number of times (I typically use 5 days), we move to a 5-day reward schedule whereby my daughter earns her reward after 5 days of successfully implementing the desired behavior. We usually continue for 1-2 weeks until the concept is mastered, the excitement fizzles, and we want to start working on another behavior.
When using a good behavior chart such as this, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Make sure the behavior you are trying to work on is something your child can achieve, and try not to roll a bunch of different behaviors into one. Keep it as simple as possible to ensure your child will be successful.
- At the onset, make sure you are rewarding your child soon after the desired behavior is completed to establish a connection between the 2 and keep him or her motivated.
- Choose a reward that will motivate your child but that you can sustain over time. Additional time watching TV or playing on the iPad, an extra book at bedtime, a trip to the park after school, etc. all work well, but I encourage you against using sweets and monetary rewards as you probably won’t be able to keep those up long-term.
- Never take stickers away! If a sticker was earned, it is something to be proud of. Do not punish a child by discounting something he or she worked hard to achieve.
- If your child isn’t successful in earning a sticker for one or 2 days, do not reprimand him or her. Instead, spend some time reviewing the goal of the good behavior chart again and be sure to give reminders throughout the day to encourage success.
- To make things extra-motivating, you can implement a two-tier reward system whereby your child will earn a small reward for each sticker earned (10 minutes of iPad time) and a bigger reward for earning all 5 stickers (a trip to the library, baking a special dessert with mom, etc.).
Remember to be patient and have fun! The more positive, motivating, and rewarding you make your good behavior chart, the more successful it will be!