Looking for Incentives and a Way to Keep Track of Chores and Kids' Behaviors?
More than anything. kids want to know when they are doing well. They thrive on positive reinforcement and grow faster when they are given direction and guidance to accomplish small tasks. The days of the stiff chore chart have long been replaced by the more interactive behavioral chart. However what you really want is a behavioral chart that will work. If the chart doesn't work it just becomes another grading system and will mean nothing. So before you start a tracking chart make sure you know what you want to get out of it and then design it accordingly.
Create and Use Behavior Charts That Really Work
Everyone knows that chores and kids don't always get along. Behavioral charts can and often do include chores on them. Depending on the age of the child the level of the chore will change. What started off as simple as "make my bed" when the child is seven can and will evolve to the more complex "cook dinner for Junior on Mondays" at sixteen. Understanding the chore as it relates to the child, their skills and what you want them to learn is part one for behavioral charts.
When it comes to chores and kids you need to keep it simple and make each of the tasks attainable and easy to understand. Chores or behaviors that are too abstract are rarely attained because the child does not understand what it "looks" like. A behavior such as "get along with Junior" is too abstract to measure since there is no visual explanation or measure of this item. Keep behaviors clear and measurable. For example, behaviors such as "help mom and dad" become "set the table", pick up the toys in the family room".
Good behavior charts for kids will be fun and constant. It is important that the child feels like it is a reward system and that their good behaviors are being noticed. The most successful charts involve the child in creating the criteria and contributing to the construction. Your chart might even include a point system of rewards for each check mark category. Some examples include:
- 10 points=ice cream with Dad
- 15 points=a friend gets to stay overnight
- 20 points=movie and lunch with Mom and one friend
Once you start a chart, commit. And don't drop the ball. Following up consistantly is the key to any modification of behavior with children. And adults! It is important to see it through to show that the behaviors that you outlined are important enough keep track of and must not be "thrown away" or "tossed out" simply because keeping track and following up take time and committment. After a given period of time, say a set of five week days, you can revisit the chart but stick to the beginning agreement until you have a chance to involve all family members in a proposed change. Family meetings are the best place to determine modifications, if needed.
Make sure you understand that behavioral charts that will work take into consideration that your child is not striving for perfection, simply a change or more mature and developed behavior to chart growth. Reasonable and age appropriate rules need to be engaged. If your child could benefit from learning to pick up after himself, use specific and measurable chores or behaviors such as "toys put away", clothes put in hamper after bath."
Keep chore descriptions and rewards simple. Also make the rewards real. If you find you can encourage a child's good behavior for it's own reward you have found the perfect reward. Special time with family and friends or a break from a chore ocassionally makes things interesting. If you can avoid giving objects or money you will find a more engaged child. You know your child so you can come up with what might work for them. There are many free printable behavior charts available on-line. You will likely find just the chore charts you need which you can tailor and print out. With the right reward and wise and realistic behavioral selections you will see the change and growth in your child.