Reward charts for kids: Here’s how to use them

From encouraging your child to use the potty, to teaching them good manners, a reward chart is a great way to change your child’s behaviour.

 Give your children stickers or stars towards a reward when they behave the way you want.

Kids love being rewarded for good behaviour! Reward charts are useful in helping to teach your child more positive behaviour patterns in an effective way, and work particularly well for children aged three to eight years.

You give your child stickers or points towards a reward when they behave the way you want them to. At the end of the week you can tally up the stars or points and, if your child has reached the set goal, they can receive a small gift or treat.

How to use a reward chart

What behaviours need to change?

Explain to your child upfront that there are certain behaviours that need to be addressed, and why. Let her negotiate with you which of the top five are the most important ones at any given stage.

Three is the magic number

Choose no more than three behaviours that you would like your child to work on. Place pictures or drawings of your child performing these behaviours on the reward chart.

Explain what the chart is for

Explain that each time she performs the activity successfully, a star will be placed on the chart. Allow her to place her star on the chart herself. This provides a sense of achievement, ownership, and satisfaction.

Agree on the number

Agree on the number of stars she needs to obtain per day and per week to obtain a reward.

Reach for the stars

Grade the reward according to the number of stars obtained. For example, after obtaining three stars a day, she obtains five minutes more time in the swimming pool. After 21 stars earned in a week, she can, for example, have an hour of playtime with you in which she decides what and how you play.

Use charts for short-term

Use the chart for a limited period only. It is a motivator for change of behaviour only. As a guide, use it for about a month to six weeks. Once the new behaviour is established, expect her to uphold this, and select new ones as needed.

Free downloadable reward charts