This is my go-to resource whenever I have a student who is struggling to meet a certain behavioral expectation within the classroom. I sit with the student and go over the chart. We follow the steps below, then I tape the chart to their desk. This has been a lifesaver in my classroom. I even use it to help students during times when they are outside of the classroom, i.e. recess and specials. Works wonders. Remember to be generous with allowing the student to color in apples in the beginning because it will encourage them to meet their goal!
How To Get Started With Behavior Charts
- Think about a single behavior you’d like your child or student to start doing. Even though there are probably many behaviors you would like for your students to be better at, it’s important that you focus on mastering one behavior at a time.
- State the behavior that you selected in a positive way, not negative. See examples below. Instead of writing “Stop calling out in the classroom” which is what you don’t want them to do, state it positively like this: “Raise your hand before speaking.” At School: Stay in your seat; walk in the hallways; turn in your homework; keep your hands to yourself. Remember to keep the instructions simple.
- Decide on an incentive or reward that you want to use with this chart. Be sure to select something that will motivate the child. Have the child pick their reward. Provide inexpensive options for incentives and rewards: 10 minutes on iPad; Stickers; Pencils or markers; Coloring sheets. The possibilities are endless and they don’t have to be costly. They also don’t have to be related to foods and treats! Brainstorm to come up with some of the things that the child likes.
- Be consistent in how you apply your decision-making to the chart. This is a major key to success. Once you start using a behavior chart with your child or student you need to participate in the process of them filling it up. In other words, you have to be watching them to catch them doing their new behavior so you can acknowledge them and invite them to fill in their behavior chart. Then you have to be consistent with providing the reward. If the reward is one that you can’t fulfill right away due to circumstances, give them a coupon that acknowledges the accomplishment and can be used later for the reward.
- Celebrate little wins along the way and keep a positive attitude.