I’ve done it. I’m a mom with a chart. I said this wouldn’t happen to me. I thought using a reward system in the form of a chart posted on the wall was silly. But of late, my almost-4-year old daughter has been having 2-year-old tantrums.
I don’t get it. She has a full, vibrant vocabulary, which she acquired and has been polishing and perfecting since shortly before her second birthday. She doesn’t need to kick and scream to display her displeasure. And yet, she does.
Maybe it has something to do with her younger brother’s use of this tantrum tactic. Maybe she’s just overly emotional. I don’t know, and I don’t think I’ll ever know. But, I do want to help her get a handle on it, and fast! (For my sake as much as hers.)
Enter the chart.
Three stars = a treat (smarties, bubble gum, candy, cookies, Kraft Dinner [yes, KD is a treat in our house], etc.)
Five stars = 10 minutes of game time on Mommy’s computer.
Seven stars = a favourite outing or special time with a person of her choosing (Within reason. Obviously, we’re not setting up play dates with Suri Cruise or arranging some one on one time with the Tooth Fairy).
So, every time she is faced with a potential upset and she handles it in a way that does not result in kicking, screaming, name calling, etc., she will get one star for that episode. Each day is a new slate. I have chosen the numbers 3, 5 and 7 based on observing her over a few weeks and noticing that, on a good day, she would have about 3 melt downs. On a bad day, it was up to 7. So, if she achieves 3, 5 or 7 stars in a day, she will reap the rewards of her good behaviour. Although, I hate to call it good behaviour, because it’s more about achieving self-control than it is about behaving well.
All of this was clearly defined for her at the outset of chart usage. She thought it was a fantastic idea and couldn’t wait to get started…We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!