Charts, Charts, Charts, Charts, Charts
I hope you are singing the title of this blog post to the tune of "Shots" like I am....also because you may need a few to deal with your child's behavior. The number one question I get as a teacher, and a mom, is how can I help my child's behavior improve? For all of us it is an ongoing, ever changing, battle of us vs. them. You want your household to run smoothly without the constant bickering, attitudes and repeating of directions (because you are completely ignored when you give a direction). These things drive me mad as well, on the daily!
My daughter has more outward defiance because she straight up just says, "No!" or "I'm not doing that!" whereas my son has more of the complaining defiance, "WHY do I have to do that? WHY does no one else do this but me?" As if we treat him as our house help while everyone else sits on the couch eating Bon Bons. Either way it is defiance, annoying and I have had enough!
I decided to use a daily chart in my house for each of my children. The kids got to pick which charts they wanted to use after I found great ones here: http://www.freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com/behaviorcharts3-10.htm They have fun charts with themes that I am sure your children will love too! The best thing about them is that they are blank and you can customize them. I sat down with each of my children and asked what they think they need to work on? I am always surprised that what they say is exactly what they need to work on.....all of that stubborn, ignoring of mom and dad behavior didn't totally fall on deaf ears. Once we have decided on the areas they need to work on, we then talk about how many stickers (or stars) they need to earn. NOW HERE IS WHERE MOST PARENTS FALL FLAT FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE....DO NOT ASK YOUR CHILD TO EARN IN EVERY SINGLE AREA, EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is a completely, unobtainable goal. Are you on your A game every day, all day long? I think not! A great beginning goal would be to count up how many they can possibly earn and then a good starting goal would be to earn half. For example my daughter can't earn "Being good at school" on weekends so we don't count those boxes. If she has 26 places where she can earn on her chart then our starting goal would be for her to earn 13. As she has reached this goal a few times, then we would move the goal up. Another area in which parents always have trouble with is whether or not to have your child earn or to take things away? Now I am not completely against taking things away but it doesn't always work. I take things away when I see my childrens' behavior changing because of it. Ex. They get so nasty if they are on their iPads a lot so I will take away or limit iPad time. Other than this instance we don't really take things away and never when dealing with a behavior chart. When dealing with a behavior chart they are ALWAYS earning. Pick a "prize" your child wants when they reach their goal. It does not have to be a something you have to pay for. It could be game time with mommy or daddy, going to the park etc. If waiting until earning until the end of the week is too hard for your child then pick a daily goal of earning (instead of a weekly goal) and they can earn something each day if they have reached their goal. You should always modify any plan in order to best fit the needs of your child.
Now I am not ever going to say this is easy and this is the reason most parents don't want to give it a try BUT the more work you put in now, the better it will be down the line. The beginning of anything is always hard but it will be better in the end, I promise you that. Children need, crave and thrive on structure, rules and expectations. If you aren't giving them any then you aren't doing your job as a parent. If your child is having trouble with their behavior then a chart is the first thing you should try. Make your rules and expectation clear and you will see a difference. Last but not least....DON'T WAVER! This is not a negotiation! If you child didn't earn, they didn't earn. Don't let that little hostage negotiator talk you in to giving them a star or sticker because they think they should get it. You are in charge, not them! Believe me, I know they are cute, but it won't be cute when they are 15 and out of control.....so why not start now?