There are lots of things we have to do as a parent. One of our jobs is to guide and mold our children’s behavior. Easier said than done right? There have been a few times over the last several months where I have needed to do this with Nick. Sometimes it was easy, but we’ve hit several points where it was a struggle. This was where our new behavior system for home came into play.
The Effective Behavior System for Home Combining Rewards and Consequences
While Nick is fairly easy to parent, he does have his moments just like any child. When we hit those moments though they are often big ones. The kind that I feel lost to change and that make me want to basically bang my head against a wall in frustration. We’ve hit a few of those this year where I honestly didn’t know what I would do.
Things changed for the better though when I discovered our new behavior system. The basis for it had been mentioned by a fellow mom in my mom’s group. Her daughter was going through a similar problem that Nick had and the idea of the system sounded fabulous. I decided to give it a try and Nick totally took to it! Twice now it has helped turn behavior issues around when I felt there was no way to fix them.
What I love about this behavior system for home is that it combines both rewards and consequences. Nick has always responded well to reward systems, so this was right up his alley. I personally liked the consequence part because it forces Nick to take responsibility for his actions. The two parts combined though are, in my opinion, the reason this system is so effective.
I also liked that the system is ongoing. Once Nick reaches the top he earns his reward and we start all over again so we keep focusing on modifying his behavior. I have found that eventually we both kind of forget about it and the system fades out as the bad behavior stops being an issue.
How To Make Your Behavior System Clip Chart
The only supplies you need for your behavior clip chart are a piece of paper (I prefer cardstock so it’s thicker), a clothes pin, and possibly some reward prizes. You may need something to hold the prizes in as well.
Take the piece of paper and fold it in half. Then add the numbers 0 – 10 up one side. Put the clothes pin at zero to start. Now you’re ready to use the chart!
How To Use the Behavior System For Home
The way this behavior system works is quite easy. It is a clip chart system, although it works differently than the ones you likely see in classrooms. For this system your child gets to move up a number when they do the right thing, and if they do the wrong thing their clip has to move all of the way back to zero. When they get all the way to ten they earn their prize! Then put the clip back at zero and start again.
Let me give you an example of how this system works. Let’s say you’re using this behavior chart for potty training. Every time your child goes potty on the potty they get to move up a spot, but if they have an accident than their clip moves back to zero. They earn a prize when they’ve gone potty on the potty ten times with no accidents.
A Note On Prizes
Nick likes to earn physical prizes, but do not feel that you need to go that route. Talk with your child to see what they want to earn. If the reward is something they want they’ll be far more likely to work for it. Maybe they want to earn some time playing on a tablet or computer. Maybe they want to earn the chance to do a special activity with you. What drives each child is different.
If you go with physical prizes don’t let them break the bank! If your child earns the reward a lot it could cost you a lot of money. I try to keep prizes for Nick that only cost a few dollars. I personally like to get mystery prizes. Ones where you don’t know what actual toy is in the package. That way Nick can look for the toys and get excited for his choice, but it’s still a fun surprise when he earns it.
The prizes that Nick has liked the best are
Tips for Making this an Effective Behavior System for Home
Now, I have tried it where the clip only falls half way down when the wrong behavior occurs instead of going all the way to zero. This can help if the behavior change is very difficult or if the child is getting discouraged, but from experience I’d say the full fall is far more effective. Some times modifications need to be made though.
Do your best to help your child hit ten quickly when you first get started. Remind them constantly of the reward they’ll earn. Depending on the behavior you’re working on you might give them reminders to help them do the correct behavior. If it takes your child a long time to earn their first prize they might get very discouraged and this system might not end up working for them. If they earn it quickly though they’ll know that they’re capable of it and they’ll be more likely to make the right behavior choices to keep on earning rewards.
Finally, this behavior system might or might not work for your child. What works for one child won’t work for the next. The nice thing about behavior systems for home compared to ones at school are that you can adjust them for your individual child.
Behavior Management Resources
- But Why Can’t I?: A book about rules (Our Emotions and Behavior) by Sue Graves
- I Hate Everything!: A book about feeling angry (Our Emotions and Behavior) by Sue Graves
- The Survival Guide for Kids with Behavior Challenges: How to Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble by Thomas McIntyre, Ph.D.
More Useful Parenting Posts
- How We’re Finally Mastering Potty Training
- How to Prepare Your Child for a New Dog
- Nose Bleeds in Kids: How to Stop Them and Prevent Them
- Parenting Strategies: 5 Universal Laws of Raising Grateful Kids