The idea of using stickers to improve your child’s bad behaviour may sound a little far fetched, but research shows that sticker charts work.
While a sticker chart won’t completely eliminate undesirable child behaviour, they are effective – if you use the proper approach to implement them.
What is a sticker chart?
A sticker chart is based on the premise that a child will accomplish difficult tasks or be better behaved if they know there will be a reward at the end. Anyone who has ever gotten out of bed on a Monday morning and stared wistfully at their comfortable bed, and nevertheless gone to work is an example of this principle. You go to work because you know there is a reward – a paycheque – and that if you don’t go to work, you won’t get it.
Some parents “don’t believe” in sticker charts because they believe that children should be naturally driven to behave or that the parent “shouldn’t have to” reward the child for something that the child is expected to do.
However, we are not suggesting that parents give their children a sticker for every good deed. If your child goes to bed without incident, you do not need to reward them with a sticker for that behaviour. However, if getting ready for bed has become a struggle for you, “getting ready for bed with no issues” may be a targeted behaviour that may be included on the sticker chart.
Children learn about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours based on the repercussions of those acts. A reward can help a child perform a behaviour more frequently.
Sticker chart dos and don’ts
Before starting a sticker chart:
Establish your goals
Identify only a few behaviours that you want your child to work on (for example, sharing with a sibling, getting ready for school without arguing, etc.) and utilise the sticker chart purely for those actions.
Remember to reward
Decide on the reward ahead of time. Every time your child engages in the intended behaviour, they should be given a sticker. They save the stickers for a reward. It is critical to determine the reward ahead of time so that you can involve your youngster in the process. When children are offered options, they are more driven to complete tasks. Earning stickers toward an undefined “reward” is too ambiguous for most children. They want to know what they will gain by working hard. (Doesn’t everyone?)
Determine how many stickers must be saved for the reward ahead of time
Assume you received a paycheque but had no idea how much money you would need to buy something you want. There is no motivation if you don’t know what your money can buy. The same is true for children. If you want stickers to inspire your child, they must understand how many stickers are required to obtain a reward.
Make the prize attainable
Sometimes a child desires something expensive, such as a tablet or a new bike, and the parent decides that the child must earn 100 stickers to receive the gift. Stick with low-budget rewards instead. Many times, the stickers lose their meaning if the prize is too far away or if too many stickers are required to acquire the prize.
With a sticker chart, consistency is essential. When your child acts in the specified behaviour you want, you must ensure that they receive a sticker. This must occur each time the child exhibits the desired behaviour. Remember that the purpose of a sticker chart is to reward your child rather than punish them. Don’t take stickers off the chart for bad behaviour.