Tips for using a reward chart with your child

A reward chart is a tool for encouraging and praising the positive behaviour of your child.

It’s a simple way to help your child to learn new skills, like following instructions. It can also tackle more challenging behaviour, such as refusing to share.

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  • Be specific about the behaviours and tasks. Make sure that your child understands the appropriate behaviour. “Put your shoes away after school” is more clear than “Be more tidy”.
  • Be clear about the rewards. Make sure both you and your child agree to the rewards. It’s OK to offer a choice of rewards, too. For example, ask your child which type of sticker they would like. Or give them the choice of extra play time or story time.
  • Make sure that the steps to success are small. An impossible task is not a rewarding one. But don’t make it too easy, either. Think about a task or behaviour that’s a positive step up from your child’s current behaviour.
  • Avoid including too many tasks or behaviours. Choose two or three for your child to focus on at a time. You can always introduce more later.
  • Focus on positive behaviours. It’s better to say “Tidy up after playing with toys” than “Don’t leave a mess”.
  • Reward everyday achievements. These can include washing their hands before dinner or packing away a game before getting out another. This helps to keep your child engaged.
  • Don’t break the bank. Rewards don’t have to be expensive toys or day trips. They can be things like an extra bedtime story or 15 more minutes of bathtime.

    Read our article on how to use a reward chart for more advice from our parenting coaches.

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