How to Use a Single Behavior Chart
Single behavior charts are designed for kids who are focusing on one single behavior that you’d like to see more of. Write the behavior your child is working on at the top of the chart.
Examples could be:
- Sharing my toys
- Using please and thank you
- Following directions
Every time you notice your child practicing the behavior that you’d like to see more of, you can place a star, sticker, checkmark or smiley face in the box. Set a goal of how many stickers or smiley faces your child needs to earn each day. When your child reaches that goal for the day he/she will earn a reward. Younger children may do better using a more simplified chart that focuses on filling boxes until the goal is reached. With older children you may choose instead to use a weekly chart to keep track of your child’s progress.
Examples of rewards:
- Playing a game with mom or dad
- Earning TV time or video game time
- Coming along on an errand or earning a trip to the store
Things To Keep in Mind:
- The chart should be kept in a readily accessible and visible place – this helps your child remember to follow it. What place is appropriate will depend on the behavior you are working on. For example, if you are working on saying please and thank you, you might keep the chart on the refrigerator. If you are working on sharing toys, you might hang the chart in the play area.
- It might take some trial and error to set a goal for your child. If he is earning 3 rewards a day, that isn’t going to work very well for you. If he is never able to earn any rewards, then that isn’t going to work either. You want your child to stretch a little to earn the reward, but you want him to have days where he does earn it!
- Long-term rewards can work, but they might not be enough of an incentive for younger children. Waiting the whole week to earn a reward might feel like a very long week. If your child has a hard Tuesday, what is her incentive to have a better Wednesday? You might set a longer-term goal in addition to a daily goal. Maybe after a certain number of good weekdays or after a total number of stars are earned, that earns an additional reward on the weekend.
- This incentive chart shouldn’t be used as a consequence. Kids shouldn’t lose stars or stickers. If they are not making good choices, then they simply don’t earn that star or sticker and they will have to try harder.
- As your child consistently meets the goal, you can increase the goal a bit or you might choose to celebrate together and then choose another behavior to focus on.