How to use a reward chart?

The Reward system

Temporarily use of a reward chart may well help to learn children new behavior or to unlearn bad behavior. The reward chart works as an additional incentive. For a child tangible reward stickers are often more attractive than a happy reaction from a parent. After a while, if the behavior is more natural for the child, the reward can be reduced and the positive reaction of the parent is almost always sufficient. In addition, the excitement of the system after a while decreases. A temporarily used reward chart is a powerful means!

How to use reward charts?

  1. Decide what behavior you wish to see. You can choose different behaviors within one theme or choose some concrete things throughout the day. (See examples)
  2. Make a reward chart or print one from this site.  Write the desired behavior and also the days of the week.
  3. Buy cute little stickers together with your child. For each behavior that has gone well your child can stick a sticker (or draw a smiley). For failure behavior is a cross. .
  4. After a number of stickers your child earns a reward. What kind of reward depends on the age and the effort it takes to learn the new behavior. Do not make it too difficult nor too easy to earn the reward. When things go well you can increase the number of stickers your child needs to achieve, but also increase the reward a little.
  5. Hang the reward chart in a prominent place at home
  6. Let your child stick the stickers or draw the cross.
  7. Before you start working with a reward chart explain to your child what to do for a sticker and what the rules are. Of course at the level of your child!

Infinitely many behaviors can be chosen, as long as they are concrete and clearly defined. Make sure there are not too many and that there are achievable behaviors among them. This encourages your child. Examples:

  • Eat all the food of your plate
  • Sit at the table during supper
  • Eat with your fork
  • Questions or table you can
  • Do a job for mommy or daddy
  • 1/2 hour play itself
  • Do not get out of bed

Ideas for rewards:

  • Later Bedtime
  • Do something fun with mommy or daddy
  • A familytrip
  • A delicious dessert or ice cream
  • Choose what to eat
  • Small gift
  • Mama cleans your room
  • Watching a film

A few things to remember:

  • Choose clear, well to score desired behavior. That creates clarity and no discussion!
  • Be consistent and reward immediately. Let your child stick a sticker or cross as soon as possible after the desired behavior. Do not cheat and do not negotiate.
  • Never use a reward charts for a long period. It loses its strength. However,  after a while you can start again with a  reward system for different behavior if this method appeals to your child.
  • Ensure good variety in tangible and intangible rewards.
  • You can also use a reward system for two children who often argue. Scheduled periods without fight but with nice play together or alone is rewarded with a sticker. A real reward can be earned together .
  • You can make simple versions for small children, for example with just go to sleep or eat well. Pasting a sticker and after a few times getting a small gift is for the little ones often very exciting.


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