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How To Effectively Use Behavior Charts

Whether it be at school or at home, behavior charts are commonly used for rewarding positive behaviors. Kids are typically very reward-driven and behavior charts feed off of that drive. 


The hope is that a behavior chart will motivate your child to behave in order to achieve a certain goal. Eventually, these positive behaviors will stick and continue without a behavior chart.


How do you even begin using a behavior chart? We have all the tips and tricks for effectively using behavior charts for your kids.

How To Create An Effective Behavior Chart

What exactly you may be using a behavior chart for will most likely depend on the age of your children, but there are some similarities across the board. In general, there is a method for creating a behavior chart that applies no matter the age of the child. 

    1. Set Goals

Any great behavior chart will set goals for your child based on the behaviors you would like for them to represent. Be specific no matter what type of chart you are using. 


Avoid being broad by saying “be good”. Instead, say exactly what they could do to improve their poor behaviors. 

    2. Choose Prizes

Rewards don’t have to be extravagant. In most cases, younger kids can get something as simple as a hug for behaving and it is very motivating. For older kids, consider moving money into their savings account as a reward.

    3. Create Your Behavior Chart

Choose and create the type of behavior chart that is best for your child’s age range and the tasks at hand. Take a look in the “types of behavior charts” section for some great inspiration.

    4. Set The Rules

Any effective behavior chart has ground rules. Explain to your child how the chart works and the rewards at hand. It is very important that children understand that if they do not complete the tasks on the chart they will not get a reward.


Types of Behavior Charts

Behavior charts aren’t always one-size-fits-all. Different types of behavior charts are effective for different ages and behavior types. Here is a little bit about some of the most common behavior chart types.

Color Charts

The color chart is a vertical chart that integrates colors and clips. Moving your clip up the chart represents good behavior, while moving your clip down the chart represents negative behaviors.


As you move your clip up and down the chart you will fall into different color categories that each have different meanings. For example, if green is the color at the top and the clip is placed there it means that you are doing a great job.

Sticker Charts

Sticker charts are often used with younger children, as they don’t require large prizes. Hang up a poster board in your child’s room and keep fun stickers on hand. Each time your child displays a positive behavior, allow them to pick a sticker and place it on their chart. 

Star Charts

Start charts are great for visualizing how many times a positive behavior has been displayed. All you will need is a poster board that can be divided into sections that represent different behaviors and some star stickers. Each sticker will be placed in a section when the task has been represented. 


Taks could be something as simple as sharing their toys or making their bed. It is a great way to see what behaviors still need work.

Written Charts

For older kids, written charts are a great way to track progress on their goals. Use a dry erase board with their goals written out and a place to check those goals off. These goals could be homework, chores, and studying.

Digital Charts

For the digital families, an app might be a better way to track behaviors rather than a paper chart. This is another particularly good way to keep your older kids on track. 


There are many apps that allow you to monitor your childs checklist that includes their chores, homework, and spending. Some even allow you to transfer money into your children’s savings accounts based on when they check off their tasks.

Tips For Effectively Using A Behavior Chart

Not all behavior charts are successful, mainly becaused some are set up for failure by not being considerate of your child’s personal needs. Every child is different, meaning every behavior chart should be structured differently. Here are some tips to consider in order to create an effective behavior chart.


    • Your chart should be age appropriate: Many parents make the mistake of assigning tasks that aren’t exactly achievable for young children. Consider your child’s age when creating your behavior chart.
    • Keep the reward within reach: Rewards should be visible for children, making them want to receive it that much more. Consider putting rewards on a shelf in view.
    • Distribute the reward immediately: Rewards should be given as soon as a task is completed to ensure the child understands what action they completed that deserves a reward. 
    • Don’t remove past markers: For sticker charts and other charts that provide a visual for positive behaviors, don’t remove markers for bad behavior. Instead, explain there will be no more positive markers until they complete the tasks at hand.


Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all method for an effective behavior chart. You must consider your child’s personal needs first and then decide what is best for them. When behavior charts are created for success, they are a great and effective tool for rewarding good behavior.

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