Reward charts work for 2 basic reasons: 1) Children love them, and 2) They break the cycle of nagging and telling off that it is so easy to fall into as parents. It sounds corny, but a reward chart provides a really positive way (using encouragement and praise) for the whole family to try and tackle any issue.
Do I have to offer a reward?
No you don't. In truth, some people don't like the notion of bribing a child to do something. But using rewards adds to the child's excitement and helps build towards a sense of achievement when the reward chart is finished. Rewards shouldn't be huge, they should be treats, little things that mean a lot, think of the excitement a free toy in a cereal packet can generate, ask a child what they like best, the cereal or the toy?!
Can you give me some ideas for a reward?
OK, here goes, new book, trip to the swimming pool, trip to the cinema, new (small) toy, new tidying up box (very sneaky!!), extra pocket money, trip to the seaside, extra bedtime story, sit in Dad's chair at mealtimes for a week, choice of menu for a week, special cake gets baked, new drinking mug, 100 drinking straws to use whenever you like, use dad's camera, new colouring pens.
There are literally hundreds of things you could think of but the most important thing is it should be something the child wants, even better, something they choose themselves (with a little bit of parental guidance).
At what age can a child use a reward chart?
This, not very helpfully, depends on the child in question. A good rule of thumb is reward charts should work for children aged between 3 and 8. However, the more important things to consider are whether the child is capable of tackling the issue you want to address and equally whether they want to tackle it. If the child isn't ready, then a reward chart won't work.
What sort of things can I tackle using a reward chart?
You can use a reward chart to tackle all sorts of everyday family issues, for example:
Educational Achievements: Practising reading, writing, telling the time, learning times tables
Daily Activities: Washing hands, getting dressed, teeth brushing, getting ready for bed
Developmental Stages: Potty training, sleeping through the night, becoming dry at night, tying laces, learning to ride a bike or to swim
Getting Rid of Problem Behaviour: Hitting, kicking, telling tales, tantrums (over 3's), thumb sucking, refusing to do chores, swearing
Encouraging Good Behaviour: Tidying up, manners, sharing, staying at the table
What should I do to make a reward chart work?
Firstly, please read through the detailed hints and tips supplied with your reward chart. Then remember the four P's: Planning, Praise, Positive Encouragement and Patience.
Should I design my own reward chart?
Absolutely! If you've got the time then go for it!
How often should I use a reward chart?
Don't use reward charts for everything, use them in moderation. Again, it sounds corny but the real joy of using a reward chart is it proves to you that positive encouragement and praise is what kids really respond to. It's much more important to try and keep your positive attitude than to keep using reward charts!
What are 'The Golden Rules' of using a reward chart?
Please take a few minutes to read through the hints and tips guide that's supplied with your reward chart, as a quick summary here are the golden rules you should follow:
Stick to one issue and be realistic
Think about ways you can help
Stay positive and concentrate on praising success
Involve your child before you start using a reward chart, they must want to tackle the issue and must also understand how the reward chart is going to work