Reward Charts- Do They Actually Work?

Last year my boys grew up a lot. At times this was exciting, at times it saddened me as it broke my heart and other times it was frustrating how quickly they’d grown because now no longer were dirty nappies that escaped up the back of their sleep suits an issue, but their attitude and behaviour was.

And oh boy, have they developed their own cheeky mischievous attitudes. Gone were the days of laughing when they accidentally splattered food over themselves.... here are the days where it is totally not funny when the 3 year old finds out how to launch peas everywhere off the spoon, (well I guess it is a little.... but still!)

At some point last year, I had had enough of the time out zone and I needed something new to boost positivity and promote good behaviour. So, we toddled along to Hobbycraft and purchased this reward chart.

The chart in itself is great, I use one for each of the boys. Each one has a list of tasks for you to fill in, then this is on a grid Monday- Sunday. So for each day of the week, if the child completes their task, they get a star. You can then add the total up of each column. Underneath the grid there is a space which says about prizes. There is an option of giving out 4 prizes for the week, this may seem excessive and obviously it is totally optional. We do the whole 4, so there is a gap where you fill in how many stars are required for each prize. I usually kick start the prizes at 30 stars as this shows a certain level of good behaviour for the week.

So what are the tasks?

They can be anything you want them to be, from getting themselves dressed properly and nicely to completing their homework and reading. From being kind and caring to eating a new item of food a day. It can be whatever you feel you want to work on as a family. I try to do a couple of practical tasks, such as homework and eating a new item and anything they are struggling with. I try to tackle any bad behaviour habits that have formed such as answering back or being rude. I also try to add being kind or helpful as I want to reward good qualities and encourage these nice characteristics in them. I try not to make the task too unachievable as I think it just puts the child off.

What are the prizes?

Again, these can be whatever you want them to be!

I try to have a range of prizes, not all of these are physical but may be time on an iPad, or a trip out to their favourite beach or park. It could be picking what's for dinner one night or doing a fun craft. Perhaps these are things you do anyway but for a child, it is pretty exciting being allowed to choose and pick what they want to do or for a prize. I try simpler prizes that will add to their craft supplies, perhaps things they need like new crayons or some fun cheap stickers. They could be sweets, or chocolate. From time to time we go to Home Bargains, and they really do have some great bargains, so a couple of prizes in the past have been some bargain SMALL toys from there but they, of course, were a top prize. If not all prizes are won, they can then be held for further weeks. 

So, do I think this reward chart works? 

To some degree, yes. But consistency is the key. And patience and calm. It is so easy to give up at the first hurdle, and many a times have I felt like just ripping up the reward chart, but we have kept going. The first couple of weeks we did it, they barely won the first prize, but there have been weeks where they have won them all. The pride on their faces when they see how many stars they have gained is just amazing. Once the stars are up, they have been learnt so we don't take them away, so it is important to only put them on when you know they have definitely been gained for the day. Some weeks it works amazingly, others it doesn't. But I keep trying because it is something positive. When birthdays or special events such as Christmas are coming, I do tend to stop the charts as life gets busy and around those times they are treated anyway. I do note when we haven't got back to it that the behaviour does decrease so perhaps it works more than I realise. We are getting back into it next week, so I will keep you updated. 

Obviously, if you do decide to get a reward chart it does not have to be this one. I am also not reviewing the chart and the opinions expressed are of my own and this is not an affiliate post. So, it could be that you design your own or buy a different one. This is just one reward chart that tickled our fancy. 

If you give it a go, do let us know with how you get on in the comments below. We would love to hear from you. What other things do you do to try and reward behaviour or encourage good behaviour? 

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