Oh, mamas. This mama over here just implemented a behavior chart, and I’m here to tell you all about it. In this post I’ll share why I felt like we could benefit from a “behavior chart”, how I implemented it and how it’s working so far. Plus, I’ll share with you how to get my template for your own behavior chart for your kids!
First, let’s talk about WHY I decided to create a behavior chart.
I feel like every day my children get older, I venture farther into uncharted (by me) territory. My kids are now 6 years, 4 years, and 3 months old. Of course, my biggest, Kaiper, leads the way in teaching me new lessons about parenthood. Over the past few months, Kaiper and Alana have been challenging me when it comes to discipline and especially their own relationship. They have been in a season of trying to kill each other, trying to be independent but also sometimes wanting to be the baby, and testing the limits of what they can “get away with”. Enter the behavior chart.
Lately I feel like we’ve been spinning our wheels with discipline. I almost feel as if the chart is more for us as parents then it is for the kids. What I mean by that is, it’s a guide for us so we don’t slack off. We’re in a time of transition as a family, having a new baby in the house, and it’s easy to “threaten” discipline and even easier not to follow through on it. Do that enough, and your kids know you’re all bark, no bite. (Before the internet trolls bombard me with hate messages, I would never bite my kid.) The point is, if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, kids figure out very quickly that they don’t need to listen to you.
We needed a change, an easy system for us to follow so expectations and consequences are set, understood, and followed through on by all. So that is why I sat down one day and created a behavior chart, or as I chose to call it, a Daily Choices Chart.
Now, let’s talk about HOW we’ve implemented the behavior chart.
I already mentioned that I created our behavior chart myself, after looking at several other examples online. While I saw some that I liked that were similar, but not exactly what I wanted. I wanted to choose specific words for the “levels” above and below “Brand New Day”. After I printed them, I borrowed a friend’s laminating machine (as a homeschool mom, are you shocked I don’t have one of my own?). To put them on the wall, I had a vision of cute wooden clipboards in my head that they would hang on, but since I am currently sticking to a budget, I decided the purchase was just not necessary right now. So, for now, until we repaint here soon, they’re just stuck on the wall with clear thumb tacks.
Next came talking to the kids about their new behavior charts.
I really thought they might cringe or try to run away when I presented the charts and explained their purpose. To my pleasant surprise, instead they got really, really excited. They could NOT wait to “move up to blue”. On day one, it actually prompted them to run to their room, pick up all of their toys, make their beds, and give me bribery hugs and kisses. I’ve got to tell you, day one was enough to make the whole behavior chart thing worth it. However, we’re almost a week in and every day has been great! We haven’t had such a great, smooth week in a long time.
For us, this is how the Daily Choices Chart works:
- Every morning, they start on green. It’s a Brand New Day!
- When I notice they are making great choices, I tell them to move up to blue.
- Throughout the day, if I notice they are going “above & beyond” to be a helper, be kind, share, things like that, I tell them to go move to dark blue.
- If I see bad choices, I give them one warning and remind them that they’ll have to move down on their chart. (A few times now, Alana has moved to yellow (Oops) for hitting her brother when he doesn’t do as she wishes.)
I feel like one warning is fair, because we all make bad choices (complain, wine, snap at other people).
- After that one warning, if bad choices continue, they have to move to Oops, on the yellow. They can come back from Oops and go back up though!
- From there, if it continues, they go to orange where they would have to sit out and “think about it”.
- And of course, on red they lose a privilege, which for us will be for 1 week if we get to that point.
- At the end of each day, if they end the day above green without being on orange or red, they get a check mark. A full week, or seven check marks, in a row, and they get a treat. This could simply mean ice cream at home, a trip to a special fun place, making cookies with mommy, anything that feels “special”.
I have been pleasantly surprised that so far, tough behavior has been easily squashed and eliminated by simply reminding them that they don’t want to get down to orange or red on their charts.
Honestly, I think as adults we could benefit from our own behavior charts.
For real though, how often do we complain, wine, even throw fits or make “bad choices”? We literally do things every single day that we scold our children for, while forgetting they are just smaller humans than we are. Using these Daily Choices Charts has actual been a good check for me for my own attitude and choices. I need to be very aware of the choices I am making, including the daily choice to have a positive attitude which sets the tone for my entire family each day.
How to Get Your Copy of the Daily Choices Chart
I have made two versions of the Daily Choices Chart available on Etsy. I’m going to go slightly off topic and be really straight with you here: I started to offer this, as I normally do, as a free printable you can download directly here. But, I made a promise to myself that I would focus on RE-growing my business this year. Some of my long-term freelance clients have made changes which means they need me less. That paired with the fact that, to be honest, most of my “business life” fell apart after the death of my mother, followed by my surprise, super tough pregnancy.
For several years, as I grew my business from home, my income went up and up. Without going on forever, life hit me hard, and since then my income has gone down and down. Now as a stay-at-home mom of three kids 6 and under, I have to figure out how to make that same full-time income in less time daily.
I know that I can do it, but it means that I can’t work for free anymore, in any aspect. Thankfully, my blog has started to generate some income, yay! I still do freelance work (so hit me up if you have website work you need help with). So with that said, listing the printables I work hard to create on Etsy instead of offering them for free, is just one small way that this stay-at-home mom is keeping a promise to herself, to stay a stay-at-home mom who can pay the bills too. And if you didn’t know, I am also on a brand new, first time ever in my life, budget.
Okay, so for real this time:: How to Get Your Copy of the Daily Choices Chart
If you would like the chart, as seen above, customized with your child’s name on it, visit this Etsy listing.
If you would like the chart, with just the header and no name as an instant download, visit this Etsy listing.
So far, our behavior chart has changed life as we know it. If that starts to change, I will update this blog post because I want to share the full experience and keep it real with you all. If you have questions or comments, I would love for you to leave a comment here. Also, even if you don’t want to get a copy of the Daily Choices Chart, if you found this post helpful at all, I would really appreciate it if you pinned it on Pinterest so others may find it!
Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new stuff!
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and our silver lab pup, Maui. We are expecting baby #3 right now, and excited to become a family of 5! I am a freelance website & blog developer, Co-Founder of Moxie Girl Fit Club, and aspiring author. I share about everything from parenting, how to make money from home, tutorials for my fellow bloggers, fitness and being a new homeschool family. Learn more about me here.