Three year olds. They’re the best and the worst at any given moment of any given day. They will test their (and your) limits from the time they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. It’s rough. One thing that most parents will find useful during this stage of limit testing and learning is a reward chart.
Stickers on a piece of paper? Yes indeed, toddlers and preschoolers love themselves some stickers. They also dearly love to be praised and to know that they did a good job. My Jack even loves telling other kids when they do a good job! The other day he stood at the bottom of the playground slide and clapped and cheered, “great job!” for every kid that came down. The goal of using a sticker chart is to provide that kind of consistent, positive reinforcement for good behavior every day. You can make one yourself, of course, and we’ve tried that, but recently we were sent the “My Big Star Chart” from the Victoria Chart Company to review and I love it. Jack does too, and has responded to it far better than our homemade versions.
The My Big Star Chart comes with several premade behavior categories and blank ones to personalized for your child’s needs. We particularly like, “I cleaned up my toys” and “I was good at bedtime”. We used the blanks to make “I let mommy or daddy help me brush my teeth” as that’s a big issue here.
The reward stickers are all reusable. Included are several sheets of colored smiley faces and big yellow stars. We use the smiles for a regular reward and the stars for anything outstanding. Having the stickers be reusable is an immense help if you use the stickers to count towards a bigger reward like 10 days of good bedtime behavior can be redeemed for a matchbox car.
My Big Star Chart comes with a marker to personalize the chart and double sided foam tape to hang it. Jack enjoyed “writing” his name at the top and helping us pick out the behaviors we both know need working on. He loves picking what color of smile he gets and is super proud of himself when he earns a star. We can be out on the playground and a simple reminder that “we need to behave for stickers” is all that is needed to avert a crisis.
Leaning good behavior is an on-going process. A sticker chart isn’t going to solve everything, but with consistent use it can be a HUGE help and a giant step in the right direction. We keep ours hanging right outside the bathroom and bedrooms so it stays an important part of our evening struggles – the time of day we find most challenging for our son. We just came back from a long vacation last night and the chart was the ONLY way we got bedtime done. Remind me to bring this along for our next vacation – I really hate the struggling to get back on track after a week long free for all of late bedtimes, treats, toys and too much fun…
My Big Star Chart includes the following:
• Large wall chart (11 inches wide by 25 inches high).
• 8 x Activity Stickers which cover the following activities: I used my potty, I’ve eaten my food, I shared nicely, I’ve been very brave, I’ve spoken nicely, I picked up my toys, I’ve been active and I’ve been good at bedtime.
• 8 x Blank Activity Stickers that can be customized to the individual needs of your child.
• 240 Colored Smiley Face Stickers designed to help with learning colors and counting.
• 84 Gold Smiley Star Achievement Stickers for when your child does exceptionally well.
• A Supportive Information Sheet with a practical example, tips and guidelines to help you and your child get the best results from your chart.
• 4 x sticky fixing pads and dry erase pen.
You can purchase your own My Big Star Chart (and other more specialized charts) at The Victoria Chart Company’s website for $18.99 That’s more than a homemade chart costs, but we’ve seen far better results with this. Last night Jack even wanted to reward the adults for good behavior – his aunt got a sticker for eating all her dinner and I received one for using nice words (!). The chart arrived as a package in the mail that Jack was excited to open and customizing it was a fun activity together. I’d say the behavior results we’ve seen (no more arguments over brushing teeth! he helps clean up his toys!) are well worth the price!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.