Six Steps to Creating a Reward Chart for Your Child

Why use a reward chart?

Reward charts can be an effective tool for parents who want to help their child stop thumb sucking. Children often develop this habit as a way to comfort themselves, but it can cause dental problems and other issues, such as speech and social difficulties as they get older. A reward chart can provide a positive incentive for a child to break the habit, as well as encourage good behaviour in other areas of their life.

How do reward charts work?

Reward charts work by providing a clear incentive for children to change their behaviour. By offering a reward for achieving a specific goal, children are motivated to make the effort to break a bad habit, like thumb sucking. The chart also provides a visual representation of progress, which can be empowering for children and help them see their success.

 Additionally, reward charts can help children develop a sense of responsibility and self-discipline, as they learn to work towards a goal and earn a reward through their own efforts.

Ultimately, reward charts can be a valuable tool for parents to encourage positive behaviour and help their children develop good habits that will serve them well into adulthood.

To create a reward chart, follow these steps:

  • Choose a design: You can use a pre-made template or create your own using a piece of poster board or construction paper. Make sure it's colourful and eye-catching to capture your child's attention. 
  • Determine the goal: In this case, the goal is to stop thumb sucking. Decide on the criteria for success, such as not sucking their thumb for a certain amount of time or only doing it during designated times (such as bedtime).
  • Decide on the reward: Choose something that will motivate your child, such as a small toy or a special activity they enjoy. Make sure it's something they can earn within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Set up the chart: Divide the chart into sections, with each section representing a certain amount of progress towards the goal. For example, you could divide the chart into 10 sections, with each section representing one day without thumb sucking. You can add stickers or pictures of your child's favourite things or characters to decorate the chart (or better still, have your child decorate the chart. This will make it feel more like their own).
  • Track progress: Each day that your child successfully avoids thumb sucking, ( or successfully achieves any other goal), they get to colour in or add a sticker to one section of the chart. When they fill in all sections, they earn their reward.
  • Celebrate success: When your child reaches their goal, make sure to celebrate their success and give them their reward. This reinforces the positive behaviour and encourages them to continue.

 Don't forget - be patient and consistent

Using a reward chart can be a powerful tool for helping a child break the habit of thumb sucking. It provides a visual representation of progress, as well as a positive incentive for good behaviour. However, it's important to remember that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient and consistent, and don't give up if your child struggles at first. With time and perseverance, they can break the habit and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Ready made reward charts

If you would prefer to purchase a downloadable reward chart rather than create your own, we have a small selection here


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