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Rewarding kids for good behaviour is one of our favourite things, but it can often be a bit of a minefield.
We want them to help us off their own backs, but let's face it, sometimes they need a little push in the right direction. At all different ages, reward charts can work wonders to motivate kids to be kind, help with housework and start thinking about other people on a daily basis.
Just like adults, using a reward chart can be a great way for kids to work towards a goal, change a bad habit or learn good routines. The easiest way to introduce behaviour charts into your home, is by letting your children come up with ideas for their rewards. If they're working towards something they really want, they'll be far more likely to try hard to get it.
Before trying out any of our reward charts, it's a good idea to sit down with a pen and paper and write out a list of the behaviour you'd like to see more of from your child, and tasks or activities that you'd like to encourage. While you're at it, start a list of the bad behaviours you'd like to see less of. This way you can make your chart personal to your child, making the chart far more likely to be successful.
If you're working towards a big reward, it's great to get your child involved with choosing it, so that they're more likely to really want the thing they're working towards. The great thing about working with rewards, is that once your child has achieved their goal once or twice, they'll be even more likely to keep behaving well.
What Behaviours Should I Reward?
Good manners, especially if there are any bad habits you want your kids to kick.
Doing homework without being asked.
Chores around the house, like washing the dishes, feeding pets and hoovering.
Keeping bedrooms clean and tidy.
Getting dressed and brushing teeth.
Doing kind things for other people.
Sweets or chocolate - On a special occasion, you just can't beat a sugary treat.
Late Night - Allow kids to stay up ten minutes past their bedtime.
Hot chocolate - With marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
A Family Game - Quality time with parents' undivided attention for a fun game.
Cinema Trip - Kids' choice of movie and snacks.
Your Choice Dinner - Let your kids choose their favourite dinner for the whole family to enjoy together.
Sleepover - For older kids, reward good behaviour with a sleepover with a best friend.
Lego Reward Chart
This fun and easy reward chart gives instant rewards for your child's good behaviour. Perfect for younger kids who find it harder to work towards future goals, they get a reward for every time they do something good!
Materials Needed: A bag or box of Lego blocks, cardboard, 7 small lego boards (roughly 5cmx5cm).
Method: Stick each of your small lego boards to a sheet of cardboard with some space above to write each day of the week. This works best for a task you'd like your child to do every day, like getting dressed on their own, or going to bed without a fuss.
Write the days of the week above each lego board, and title your reward chart with the task you want your child to work on. If they achieve their daily goal, reward them with one new lego block from the bag or box to stick on the wall. Once the week is completed, they get to keep their new Lego blocks from the chart.
Good Manners Reward Coupons
Help children get familiar with money with one of the easiest reward systems out there.
Materials Needed: Paper and pens.
Method: For this reward system, cut your paper into 10cm by 5cm rectangles. On each one, write a reward that can be exchanged with your kids for their good manners.
It's a good idea to have a poster with some guidelines for good manners your children can refer to, so they know how to achieve a token. For example, saying 'please' and 'thank you,' might be something you can reward kids with a token for, so this can be written on the poster.
Star Chart and Chore Jar
You can't beat the classic star charts for kids under the age of 7, and the added chore jar gives great incentives for them to go above and beyond for rewards.
Ages: 4 - 7
Materials Needed: Paper, pens, small stickers, lolly sticks and two jars.
Method: To make this easy chart, you just draw a grid on the sheet of paper or card, with seven spaces for each day of the week, and a list down the side of each of the daily tasks you'd like your child to complete.
Stick the rewards chart somewhere easy to reach, with a sheet of stickers next to it. Every time your child completes one of the tasks, they can stick a sticker in the square it relates to on the chart, and once they've completed the row for the week, you can reward them with a treat.
To encourage your kids to go the extra mile, write extra tasks and chores on lolly sticks and place them into a jar. Agree on what each one is worth - either small amounts of money, or tokens towards big rewards are great options.
If your child does one of the tasks, they move the lolly stick into the empty jar, and earn their reward.
Colour In Behaviour Chart
The perfect reward system for less crafty parents, colouring book pages make rewarding charts for kids that are quick and easy to create.
Materials Needed: Pages from a colouring book.
Method: Simply chop a page from a favourite colouring book, and when your child behaves well, let them colour in one part of the colouring page. Decide on a big reward for when they finish the colouring page, and write it at the top so they know what they're working towards.
With every good behaviour, the colouring page chart will fill up, and when the whole drawing is coloured in, they get their reward!
Peg Reward Chart
Transform some boring pegs into a personalised reward chart in a flash.
Materials Needed: String, two pins, wooden pegs, paper and glue, a bowl.
Method: This is a great easy option for a kids reward chart you can use over and over again. First, write down the things you'd like your kids to do in a day. Cut each one out, and stick it to a wooden peg, so it's clearly visible. Once you've stuck every activity to a peg, place them all into a bowl.
Pin half a metre of string across the wall at a height your children can easily reach, and repeat for each of your kids. Write their name on a piece of paper above each piece of string, so they know which is theirs. When one of your kids does a task from the bowl, they can peg it on to their string.
At the end of the day, the amount of pegs can be counted, and when they reach a certain number they get a reward.
Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.