Behavior Contracts and Reward Charts

Behavior charts aren’t just for problem kids! Behavior charts are a great way to teach responsibility and help kids learn that positive behavior will get them much further than negative behavior! They are also a great way to help your child overcome negative behavior and use their natural energy and enthusiasm to get things done!! Behavior charts can include a wide-range of activities including:

  • Daily Chores
  • Homework
  • Pet Care
  • Reading
  • Hygiene/Teeth care
  • Potty Training
  • Feelings

Behavior charts can be effective at any age. The older your child is the more input and help they should be able to give in designing the chart. Once you have the chart designed, the key to success is being consistent. If you enforce some things one day but not another day, kids will know immediately that you are not going to hold them to everything on the chart. Of course there will be exceptions, a child is sick, the family is out of town, etc. Make sure that everything on your chart is very specific and attainable. If you list more things than your child can possibly do in a day, make sure you are specific about which things need to be completed each day.

Many people choose to have a reward chart to go along with their behavior chart. If you choose to do so, here are a few tips on making your reward chart work for you. Some of the most successful rewards don’t cost you anything and provide long-term benefits to both you and your child: talking a walk together, visiting a free museum or display in your area, reading a special book together, watching a movie together, anything that involves spending some one on one time with your child is a great reward that can benefit both of you. Sometimes receiving something tangible is also fun for a child. Find things that are age appropriate and make sure you have a system that defines exactly what has to be done to earn each reward. This is a great way to teach about consequences as well.

Some reward ideas:

  • A new book
  • A new game
  • A play date
  • A sleepover
  • A favorite meal
  • Extra TV time
  • A special dessert
  • A new CD
  • Parent does a chore for the child
  • Something from the “Treasure Box” (may include items like, pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, markers, toothbrush, hair ornaments, etc)

Using a behavior chart and a reward chart can be very successful in helping to keep a household running smoothly. In an over-busy world with too many things to do and not enough time to do it, having a schedule and assigned tasks can help get everything done. Using a parent contract to help enforce a behavior chart may be effective for struggling teens or children that need a little extra reinforcement.