How can I use a reward chart?

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

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

How to set up a reward chart

  • You can make your own with an A4 or A3 piece of paper and a ruler. Ask your child to decorate the edges with their favourite colours and stickers.
  • Or print off a ready-made chart – there are lots of free templates online.
  • Talk with your child about the behaviours and tasks you include. This will help them understand what you expect from them. It can also make them feel more invested in the chart.
  • If you have more than one child, you could give them a chart each or a chart to share. Set up joint tasks so they have to work together to complete the chart. This can help combat any sibling rivalry.
  • Read our seven top tips for reward charts.

Using the reward chart

  • Make sure that the good behaviour happens first. The order is important. If the reward comes before the behaviour then this is a bribe.
  • Don’t remove rewards as a punishment. Your child has been given the rewards for good behaviour. If their behaviour is unacceptable then try to give them a suitable consequence.
  • Be positive. Praise your child’s achievements no matter small they might be.
  • Discuss and review the reward chart with your child often. This is a chance for you to offer praise and positivity. It also gives them a sense of ownership of the chart that will help encourage them further.
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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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