Parenting and lifestyle blog

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Reward charts; why we use them

I have now reinstated the reward chart system in our house.  We had one a while back and it worked really well.

We reinforce good and kind behaviour with a sticker or a smiley face.

This then builds up to a little prize, normally the chance to play with a toy they don’t normally get to play with much, such as playdoh, the toy farm, scaletric or it could be a trip to the park to ride bikes or scooters.

We ignore the bad behaviour and use time outs for persistent bad behaviour.

We’ve used the time out method for quite some time in our house - and I do wonder whether focusing on the bad behaviour and not rewarding the good has any affect on my boys.

I had a friend question what good this method of parenting did as surely kids shouldn’t just behave to expect a reward.

My response was that schools reward children for listening to the teacher and for good class work by giving prizes etc.  The boys school run a Star of the Week in each class, and also are rewarded with stickers at the end of each day, which encourages them to do the best they can.

So why should it be any different at home?

You wouldn't go to work and not get paid would you?

As an adult we work, earn money and putting our all in for our job results in rewards such as employee of the month, pay rises etc.

So why not start teaching children at an early age that if you work hard enough you get rewarded.

So how does our reward chart work?

I bought some cheap reusable charts from eBay, that are magnetic, so they stick to the front of the fridge and dishwasher, and the boys have a chart each.

The charts we use break behaviour up into different categories; be kind, listening, no fighting, play nice and eat my food.

They can earn a maximum of three stickers for eating their food (so a sticker for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

For all the other categories they can earn a maximum of two stickers, one for the morning and one for the afternoon.  So if for the whole day they’ve done really well at listening for example they’ll get two stickers.

I started the sticker target low to start with so that the boys learnt that they’ll be rewarded for good behaviour.  Gradually as the weeks have gone on the sticker target has increased, meaning they have to work harder to get the reward.

We update the stickers at the end of each day, and they are given an explanation as to why they are/aren’t getting stickers.

We count the stickers each day so they know how close they are to reaching their sticker target.

Does it work?

I’d by lying if I said that my boys were now impeccably behaved. 

However since using the chart they are more aware that their actions having consequences - they don’t get the treat at the end of the week.



  1. Its really a great idea to have a reward chart at home to teach children to behave good, work hard and respect everyone.
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