Using the sticker chart to encourage a positive behavior or discourage a negative behavior works like a charm. I have used a sticker chart several times with my two older children (now 8 & 5). They both really enjoy it. I am amazed by how quickly the behavior changes once the chart is introduced. You can use the sticker chart to encourage or discourage anything. I’ve used the sticker chart to discourage nail biting. And, to encourage finishing lunch at school, finishing dinner, sleeping the night in their own bed, & potty training.
My sticker charts are nothing fancy. I simply take a piece of paper and draw boxes on it. The number of boxes represents the amount of stickers needed to reach the goal. Take potty training, for example. The child puts a sticker on the chart for each successful trip to the toilet. If they have an accident, nothing happens – no sticker is put on the chart. I never take a sticker off the chart. Each sticker on the chart is hard earned and stays put. I design my sticker charts with the goal of one week in mind. So, for potty training, I have 6 or 7 columns with 7 rows in each. Hopefully, the child has enough successful trips to the toilet to fill the chart in a week. For finishing dinner, there would be 7 boxes on the chart, one for each day of the week. Having the goal of completing the chart in a week adds to the child’s motivation.
I always have the same prize for successful sticker chart completion – a trip to the Dollar/Euro Store to pick an item of their choice. I love this prize because my child can select anything they want from the store without limitation. And, my kids love it for the same reason!
I have found the sticker chart successful in creating a new habit, like potty training. And, I have found it successful in fixing a good habit that has been lost. A few months after potty training was established, both of my boys started having slip ups. It had become such a good routine for them that they stopped thinking about it and started making mistakes. I reintroduced the sticker chart, and it put them back on track. I usually run the sticker chart for two weeks, so they receive two trips to the shop.
The sticker chart praises the child for good behavior, rather than punishing them for bad behavior. Focusing on the positive produces easier, faster results and everyone is happy!