Our eldest Oliver is two in April, meaning that the toddler tantrums have started to sneak in. In the hope of managing them somewhat we decided to start a behaviour star chart.
Oliver’s interests can waver and change so I decided to make a different star chart each month. January’s theme was Paw Patrol and so I set about drawing tracing the characters.
Oliver is too young to understand that if he isn’t good all day he won’t get a star, so for now we have broken it down. He can ‘earn’ a daily star but helping tidy up his toys at the end of the day and he can earn extra stars when he is particularly brave at swimming, really kind to others or good at sharing.
On the first evening of introducing the star chart, he didn’t really get that if he tidied up he got a star as this hadn’t happened before, so when he refused to help tidy up, he had a 30 second stint on the ‘naughty step’ and after that, he helped tidy all of his toys and then got given his star. Since then, every evening after dinner he gets down from the table and tidies away his toys and then walks over the cupboard where we keep his stars and asks for his star. We use the stars to encourage good behaviour and so give him a star even if he has only tidied away a few things. We always give him one to stick on himself and one for his star chart. More often than not, I have to put the star onto the star chart and he then presses it down. I also use this as an opportunity to do a counting exercise and at the end of each day we count the stars on the chart.
We do make tidying up a bit of a game, so we put the jigsaw puzzles back together as a family and we race to see who can put the most pieces of train track away the quickest, which makes the process a lot less of a chore and more about spending time together as a family.
Now this part is important, the rewards prize doesn’t need to be extravagant and it doesn’t need to be expensive either. For Oliver’s rewards prize we bought a pack of 10 books from The Book People which cost £12 and a pack of five matchbox vehicles for £3 and only gave Oliver one of each. So the overall cost of the rewards prize was less that £2. I wrapped up his prize and then we made a big deal about exchanging the rewards chart for the wrapped up present so Oliver knew that his stars were the reason he was being given a present.
We are now halfway into our second month of using a behaviour star chart and so far I’m glad to report it is working and I now have a fabulous little helper to help me tidy away all of the toys at the end of the day. As Oliver gets older I will start to introduce the concept of saving by giving him the option to not get a prize at the end of the month and instead save his stars for a couple of months so that he can be rewarded with a bigger prize. But I’ll blog about that when we get to that stage.