To help encourage our two year old daughter to become more consistent in several areas of her life, I created a simple, yet toddler friendly weekly behavior chart. What I found when I began looking at pre-created charts on the market, was that many of them were 1) suited for older children, featuring only text and 2) featured many categories and goals which were irrelevant for a young child. Towards this end, I I used Microsoft Word to create a basic table which I was able to customize to fit Hannah’s needs using Google Image to find clip-art my child could relate to and understand. This method can easily be copied and/or modified to suit your child’s needs.
Another feature of my self-created chart is that as Hannah grows and masters the skills on her chart, I can easily go back to my master document and change one or more of the goals, whereas, if you purchase a pre-made chart, you are stuck with the goals the company has decided are right for your child. You can also decide how many goals you want your child to work on weekly. We are currently working on, 1)going potty, 2)eating dinner, 3)clean up our toys, 4)take a nap, and 5)have a happy attitude.
You can of course, use whatever standards you deem appropriate for your own child to decide whether or not they earn a sticker for each category that day. In our home, we use the following standards.
Going potty: Every time Hannah uses the potty chair, she earns a sticker. She can earn unlimited stickers in this category each day.
Eating Dinner: If Hannah eats all or most of her dinner without fussing or being coerced, she will earn a sticker. She can also earn a sticker for eating her lunch, if she does not get to choose what she is having. (At our house, she does not get to choose her own dinner. She eats what we are eating. I will not raise a picky child by fixing her something else.)
Clean up Toys: Everytime Hannah picks up her toys, (a bigger mess, not just one Barbie or 1 book) she can earn a sticker. She does not get a sticker if she has to be coerced to clean.
Take a Nap: Hannah earns a sticker if she takes a nap. Simple as that.
Have a happy attitude: This is the hardest sticker to earn in our house. To earn this sticker, Hannah may not have any fits, or have any time-outs that day.
We do not remove stickers once they are earned. Hannah making a poor choice later in the day does not negate her good work earlier on. Once she has earned them, they are hers.
Hannah gets to select the stickers to put on her chart, and puts them up herself, helping her take ownership of the process and her choices.
At the end of the week, we will count up her stickers earned. Hannah needs 20 stickers to earn a prize. If she just squeaks by, we will take her to the dollar store or another similar retailer to choose a smaller prize. If she goes above and beyond, she can choose a larger prize like a DVD or moderate sized toy. If you wanted to keep the rewards free (or almost free) you could use things like a special trip to the park, getting to choose the family movie or game, or special time with Mom or Dad. However, in our house, the toy reward system is working for us.
Since starting the chart system four weeks ago, Hannah has done really well. She is highly motivated by the stickers, and knows when she has earned them. We are almost ready to change a few of her goals as well. I hope this has helped you!
Below is a link to Hannah’s behavior chart. I’d love to know if you begin using this or one similar, and if it is working for you and your child!!