The idea behind a reward chart is to encourage a change in behaviour.
- It encourages positive behaviour without constantly highlighting the issue.
- It is a very direct way of rewarding positive changes as they happen without encouraging the power play that can often happen during this stressful experience. If positive changes happen, rewards happen. If the positive changes do not happen the reward simply doesn’t happen but there is no great need to discuss it.
- It is a powerful visual reminder. Children respond really well to visuals and you can make the reward chart as bright and fun as you choose. You can also tailor it to satisfy your child’s interests and hobbies.
- It is temporary. Quite often the reward chart serves its purpose and emphasises the importance of the behaviour in a meaningful way. For this reason, it might be a reassuring approach for parents as it is not forever and this might instil hope.
- Make the desired behaviour very clear to your child.
- Design or buy the chart and go through it with your child explaining to them how it will work. For example – when you try a new food you get a gold star. Ten gold stars equals a present from the toy shop.
- Use the reward chart immediately. As soon as the good behaviour happens it should be a priority to reward it. It emphasises the positive behaviour in a more powerful way.
- Punishing your child by removing stars/stickers if the desired behaviour does not happen is not recommended. The chart is designed to reward and highlight good behaviour rather than punish a lack of good behaviour.
- Change up the reward to keep things exciting.