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Star Chart

This isn’t really “getting creative with kids” although I guess it could be “getting creative with discipline”, but I wanted to share it with you regardless.

We have been having some trouble with Thomas’ behaviour lately and to be honest it is doing my head in. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do or threaten or take away, he just moves on and doesn’t really care.

As an early childhood teacher I know this is a part of normal development. All children test the limits to see what they can get away with, but as a Mum, I am totally losing the plot! Time for something to change… Enter the star chart.

We used a similar one when we toilet trained Thomas and it worked really well so I decided to do another one. This time to help with the bedtime dramas we are having EVERY night.

When using a star chart, it is useful to just focus on one area/behaviour at a time, for example toilet training, going to bed or tidying up toys etc. Try not to refer to it as a “good behaviour” chart or something similar, children don’t understand if you are too ambiguous about what you want them to do. It needs to focus on a specific behaviour. If there are several behaviours that you would like to see some improvement in, pick the one that is most important to you and your family and start with that one. Work on one goal at a time and make it achievable for children. You can work on the other ones later.

So this chart is to “get Thomas to go to bed without an argument”. Our current bedtime behaviour is screaming, throwing things and hitting. So, each night that Thomas goes to bed without an argument, he will be able to put a stamp/ a sticker on the chart and after 5 nights of going to bed without a tantrum, we will go to the park. Thomas loves going to the park and we don’t do it all that often.

When using a star chart it is important to choose a reward that your child will enjoy, something they enjoy doing and that is special. Try not to use food as a reward. And with any behaviour management techniques, it is vital that you are consistent. If you say to your child they will miss out on something if they don’t stop having a tantrum, you need to follow through with it. Also, if you are rewarding them for positive behaviour, make sure you give them the reward as you said you will. Consistency is the key, and for this reason never promise or threaten anything you are not prepared to follow through on.

I wanted to share this star chart with you. You can adapt it to suit your own needs (different reward, not as many days for smaller children).

As an early childhood teacher I know positive reinforcement (focusing on children’s positive behaviour) works so much better than reprimanding them for doing the wrong thing but sometimes you get caught up in the day to day drama, it’s easy to forget! No one is a super mum!

star chart

For more specific help with behaviour management, and parenting courses, check out the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.


2 responses »

  1. Is your chart achieving your outcome ?

    • The chart has been working. We have had no arguments going to bed for 3 weeks – until the last 2 nights. I’d say that’s a success. I think he’s just getting a bit over it now – time to work on a different behaviour. Thanks for asking 🙂


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