Altering or shaping a child’s behavior takes incentive, consistency and patience. Creatively find ways to encourage your child to behave the way you desire, such as with a behavior chart. Ask Dr. Sears and the National Center for Learning Disabilities (LD) both recommend behavior charts that offer tangible rewards when your child exhibits desired behavior. Dr. Sears advises making the charts fun, changing them often, hanging them in a highly visible location and getting your child involved in creating and maintaining the chart.
Talk to your child about the behavior you desire, such as cleaning up her room without being asked, making her bed, brushing her teeth, saying “please” and “thank you” or being respectful toward her siblings. Make a list of these desired behaviors to write on the chart.
Ask her what sort of reward she might want, such as going somewhere special with you, watching an extra 30 minutes of TV, a new doll or whatever she might want. Smaller rewards, such as 30 minutes of TV, could be a daily reward for a certain number of good marks, while larger rewards, such as a new toy or special treat, could be a weekly treat.
Draw straight lines horizontally and vertically across a blank piece of paper using the ruler, making a grid. Write the days of the week down the short side of the page and the desired behaviors along the long side.
Let your child place stickers or happy faces in the squares when he exhibits the desired behavior, or draw sad faces if he doesn’t. Add up the happy faces and subtract the sad faces to find out how many happy faces (or points) he earned. The points should equate to a reward. This might work best for preschool or school-aged children who can count and tell the difference between the days.
Get a picture of something your child wants, or ask her to draw a picture of the reward she wants. Place tracing paper over the image and draw dots around the picture to make a connect-the-dot picture. Hang this as her behavior chart and let her connect two dots each time you catch her behaving the way you want. For example, if she picks up her toys without being asked, allow her to draw a line. When she completes the image, she should get the toy. This behavior chart works well for a toddler or preschooler.