This is the chart we used the first time:
We just filled these in as she got them (only allowing for one sticker per activity per day). If she missed one one day but got it the next day, we didn't skip a square, just filled in the missed one.
The chart concept was new to her when we started this. By giving her only six tasks to focus on, we weren't constantly butting heads with her on what she was supposed to be doing. It introduced her to responsibility.
She really wanted her Jessie doll and I think it seemed too far out of reach with so many squares to fill. I think that when she finally got it, she realized that good behavior leads to good rewards. I felt like she would go an entire day, completing each activity, yet was not rewarded.
With the second chart, we introduced the prize bag. Basically, I filled a gift bag with little trinkets I found around the house (a fancy watch that didn't work anymore, a Hawaiian lei, some stickers, necklaces, sea shells, etc.). If Jaden completed every activity in a single day, before bed she would get to pick from the prize bag. She loved this and really tried harder to make sure she was getting everything done. If she missed a task, we skipped that square and started on a new column the next day. At the end, she had to complete the missing squares before she could get her big prize (a new book).
Jaden flew through the second chart! We decided that we needed to add more tasks since for one, she was set in her routine and was having no trouble with completing her activities. Don't get me wrong, this is a great thing! I just didn't want her to not notice her good behavior yet still get rewarded. Here is the current chart we are working on:
We added a couple more activities that are more learning than behavior oriented.
Jaden is doing GREAT with her charts! She likes having new things to work on. In fact, she often tells us something that we should put on her next chart. We still use the prize bag with this chart and currently she is working toward a Rapunzel doll from the bookstore. Some readers were concerned that we were trying to control her feelings. That is not the case at all. Yesterday, Jaden had a hard time getting out of bed. She was really tired and was just kind of being... well, a three-year-old! I had laid her shoes out for her to put on and when I went to check on her, I saw the shoes still on the floor. I asked her again to put her shoes on and noticed that she was working on putting a different pair on. I praised her and told her she was doing a great job! She threw a fit and insisted that I didn't like her brown shoes because I set her white ones out, threw her shoes down and refused to even try to put them on. Instead of focusing on her tantrum, I just explained to her that she would need to work on waking up happy and putting her shoes on by herself tomorrow (she did both this morning with no fuss) if she wanted a sticker. She didn't get to pick from the prize bag last night and understood why.
Reward charts might not work for every kid. Jaden is the type of kid that likes to have a routine so it works great for her. Also, she's old enough to know when she is doing something she is not supposed to. She is also old enough to help out with little things like setting and clearing the table. I don't think I could have introduced the chart to her at a younger age. She wouldn't have been able to understand the concept.
I've created a blank chart available for purchase in my Etsy store!
Are you using a reward system? What have you found works or doesn't work? How old were your kids when you started?
Have a great weekend!