ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Create and Use a Child's Behavior Chart

Updated on March 12, 2011

One way to increase behaviors is with use of charts. Many children respond well because charts give them a way of visually monitoring both their behavior and the positive consequences of that behavior. Children can be active participants in developing a chart, maintaining it, and monitor­ing reinforcers.

There are several different ways to design a chart. It can be something as simple as putting a star or a happy face on a calendar for each day your child picks up her toys or gets herself dressed before the bus is waiting at the door. Other charts can be more elaborate, listing two to four different behaviors.

The days of the week are listed down the side and the specific behaviors across the top. It is helpful to have your child participate in choosing the behaviors that will go on the chart. This gives you a chance to discuss why these behaviors are important. Also, having your child participate in making the chart gives her a sense of ownership. You can have your child draw or cut out a picture from magazines to depict the behavior being charted. Again, this makes it easier for her to know what behaviors are being charted as well as make her an active participant.

Behaviors on the chart should be described in positive terms, keeping in mind that these are behaviors you are trying to increase. If getting ready for school is difficult for your child, you can break down the behaviors needed to reach the final goal of being ready for the school bus. Include such behaviors as brush teeth, wash face, get dressed, eat breakfast, and pack school bag. Similarly, if getting ready for bed is a time of conflict for you and your child, you can include such behaviors as put toys away, put on pajamas, brush teeth, and wash face.

Each time you observe one of the behaviors, place some type of mark in the appropriate box—hash marks, stickers, stars, happy faces, or whatever your child likes. Allowing your child to place the sticker or mark on the chart also helps to increase her participation. Always pair the sticker or mark with verbal praise for the specific behavior.

Decide on several rewards that will be available for each day and the number of stars or marks needed to earn the reward. Daily rewards should consist of things that don't cost money. A special dessert, staying up 15 minutes later, and special time alone with Mom or Dad are some suggestions. You can set up a "menu," with your child listing the number of stars needed for each reward. For example, if you have four behav­iors or tasks on the chart, your child may need to complete two for a special dessert, three for a special book, and all four to stay up 15 minutes later.

A more substantial reward can be used for the end of the week. Again, determine the number of stars needed, and set up a reward menu. You might include a video rental, playtime with a special friend, a small toy, lunch at McDonald's, or a trip to the park.

One major benefit of using a chart is that you can modify the number of stars needed for a reward as the frequency of the behavior increases. For example, if you decide your child needs to start picking up her toys (something she does only once or twice a week), she could earn a daily reward when she com­pletes the task and, initially, a weekly reward if the toys are picked up two times during week. As the behavior occurs more frequently, you would increase the number of stars needed for her to earn the reward. Eventually, you can eliminate the daily rewards and use only the weekly rewards.

When using charts, keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure your child is interested in the rewards you have hosen.
  • Make the rewards attainable. If you are trying to increase a behavior that occurs only once or twice a week, don't set a goal of five or six stars. Even though your child gets a daily reward when the behavior occurs, she may never attain the weekly goal. This can be very discouraging for both you and our child and defeats the purpose of the chart.

Start out small. Don't begin a chart with five or six behaviors. This is too overwhelming for both you and your child. You can always add (and delete) behaviors to the chart as changes occur.

As the behaviors start to increase in frequency, increase the number of stars or marks needed to obtain a reward. The goal of a chart system is to increase the behavior to the point at which it is maintained by praise alone.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)