Sticker reward charts. We parents are often told to give them a go, whether it’s by Supernanny, Three Day Nanny, teachers in school, mum bloggers and so on.
A while back, I bought a sticker chart when my then 2 year old was potty training with the idea that she could have a gold star whenever she went on the potty. That was completely ineffective – she toilet trained anyway but she just didn’t get the chart and completely ignored it.
However, now she’s 4…HELLO STICKER CHART! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE??
I’ll rephrase that, actually: HELLO FROZEN INSPIRED STICKER CHART WITH PRINCESS STICKERS!
Me: “Have you tidied all those toys away back in the box like I told you?”
4 year old, carries on watching Topsy and Tim as if I’m invisible “*silence*”
Me: “If you put all of those toys away really nicely, you can have a sticker on your chart for looking after your things.”
4 year old: “Ok Mummy!”…as she instantly springs to attention.
Me: “If you get 10 stickers on your chart, you can have a Frozen necklace. Why don’t you start by staying in bed the first time Daddy puts you there, all night?”
4 year old: “And then can I have one sticker?”
…and she stays in bed all night.
It’s brilliant. It’s not failsafe – there are, of course periods of intense naughtiness that not even a sticker chart could solve in that moment – but on the whole I’ve found it to be a really helpful tool in reinforcing positive behaviour.
We started the chart because upon starting preschool our 4 year old exuberant diva settled so well that she ‘forgot’ to listen to the teacher at times. Of course learning new skills and ways of doing things always starts at home, so we started a chart that simply mirrored the school’s golden rules: be kind and gentle, look after our things and listen the first time.
4 year old could really relate to this and even appreciated it, as she’d heard the rules at school, too. It’s even exciting for her as she loves school and likes to practice what she’s learning at home (we had an interesting chicken dance with accompanying squawks around the bathroom this evening as I lay immersed in what I thought was immeasurably relaxing hot bath water scented with lavender oil – I’m assuming this must have been a dance activity…).
I continue to be impressed with the power of the sticker chart to the parent. Those stickers are like gold dust to kids, or chocolate or cheese strings.
Sticker charts: if you haven’t tried it yet and your child is 4 or above, give it a go.