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February 25, 2011

Behavior Chart Freebies

Happy Friday Friends!
You know, I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking regarding my parenting.  I have rained down hard judgment on myself as a mom.  But you will be happy to know that I have come to the conclusion that I don't have all the answers, there is no ONE right way to do things, and my best is the best for my girls. 

And I have to tell you that I have realized little changes make BIG IMPACT. Here are the changes I have made.  Not many since I can't do it all. :)

1.  Do, act, say everything with love. It seems kind of sappy but I have noticed that when I focus on doing everything with love towards my children...I mean, really engage my mind and my choices...I actually convey loving kindness.  I really want my children to know and see that I love them.  Not just hear the words.

2.  Humbly receive wisdom from seasoned mothers.  I have always been afraid to bother people or bore them with my mothering woes.  Now I just ask everyone questions and you know what?  People talk.  People understand with surprising compassion.  And I have found I am not alone with so many things.

3.  Hold to standards that last a lifetime.  I have gotten so slack with my mothering because I wanted peace more than I wanted every moment to be a teaching moment.  And I heard this once and never forgot it.  You either pay now or pay later with that kind of thinking.  My children are a legacy and a heritage. My letting things go says so many bad habits are OK. So I am consciously making an effort to stay consistent.

4. Letting things go.  I am also learning that not every misdeed or negative talk will lead to a lifetime in the pokey or worse...the frightening prospect of teenage deviance. I make mountains out of every molehill and I am trying to lighten up.  It makes me enjoy my kids, offer mercy and grace, and I find I laugh more.

5.  Praise goes a crazy long way to empower my kids. The one thing I did not notice was how my weariness began making everything be negative.  I zeroed in on all the bad things my kids do and then  stopped praising for the good things.  So I started my BEHAVIOR CHARTS again.  These are fun during potty time or when teaching your kids values but when things go bad...well.  Call me a mean ol' mommy but I don't feel much like giving a sticker after a 30 minute scream fest. But my kids need to feel proud of themselves.

So I decided to make 2 charts.  One to encourage my kids while offering a lot of grace and one to remind them that though they are given adequate chances...there will be consequences for repeated issues.

 (Click image to download)

The first chart here is the 3 strikes chart.  I was tending to be too harsh and going right to a consequence without allowing room for improvement.  What an amazing change  I saw with this!  At Cati's school, they use the stoplight method where they all start on green but can go to yellow and then the dreaded RED.  I did not want to simulate the same thing as school since my home is different so I decided to do 3 strikes and then a consequence type of chart. 

I just put an X for each strike and then wrote down the consequence.  That way, when we do the star chart (below) she will know why a star may not have have been earned at some point of the day.

 (Click image to download)
This chart was initially going to be a sticker chart but I decided to put both of these into a page protector (to further reveal the geek I am) so that I could use a dry erase marker and not use up paper over and over. Below are ones I made for myself (they are a little different then the ones you can download).

 It works great!  
I use a different color star for each child and just go down the row.  They have a chance to earn stars 4 times a day.  Morning, afternoon, and evening times with an EXTRA opportunity at the end of the day.  Kind of like one more chance to improve or for going above and beyond what is expected.

You are able to download these for personal use if you wish...cuz I love ya!  I made them kind of light and fun because I wanted this to be an encouragement and an empowering thing for my girls. I figure if I hang up pieces of paper all over my wall I can make it somewhat aesthetically pleasing. And not too loud looking.

Do any of you have some great teaching methods in your home to help encourage and modify behavior?  

I would love to hear about them!!


  1. interesting!!

    look in my blog! I hope you enjoy!

  2. Good stuff Jessica. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Before becoming a mommy, I was a high school English teacher in my previous life. In one of my classes, I remember a lesson on praise for your students that I think applies to any relationship. The concept was that too many time we offer praise that is not specific..."Great job! Good work! Way to go!, etc" The lesson said this type of praise had little meaning and was empty, while praise that noted a specific incident was powerful: Thank you for cleaning up that puzzle when I didn't even ask you, too. That makes Mommy very happy. Of course, for my students the words would have been different, but the concept the same. And this type of specific praise can help us reward improvement, excellence, and consistency, while avoiding praise for things that should be done anyway. So while I expect Ryder at 3 to clean up his puzzle when I tell him to, (doing what I said should be done anyway, and I will simply thank him for minding Mommy), actual praise is given for going beyond and picking up the puzzle without me having to ask him. However, a year ago, I might have given praise just for getting all the pieces picked up while I helped. There are sadly few things that I remember from anything else, you learn more from the job than from the school, but I really thought that the lesson on praise was valuable and helpful to anyone dealing with kids (or adults, for that matter!) And...your sticker charts are way cute, and such a good reminder to us as parents to say the praise and not just think it, and to discuss actions that lead to consequences instead of just giving the consequences. Thanks for sharing!

  4. this is a great post! before I had kids, I would look at screaming kids in grocery carts and say, never will my child act like that. and you know what for my first two kids, I was so strict and yelled so much, they never did act like that, perfectly behaved. but like you said pay later. now I no longer judge the screaming kid. and I know longer judge the rebellious teen. I used to judge them too, thinking oh , they weren't raised i a christian home or if they were, well they did something wrong! You have control to a certian extent, you do the best you can, when they are teens they touch choices to make and don't always choose the right ones. Here's a good phrase:
    You just do the best you can~

  5. I am so gald we are raising kids together! I need some one to get ideas on with my girl :) She is going through a funk! & she doesn't think it is so funny when I sing her that song, "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, think I'll eat some worms" :) maybe a chart for bieng a good friend is exactly what she need right now! Now if I could just get Kelly to figure out how to get this stupid printer to work!!! Thanks for making me rethink what we are going through right now! I am a work in progress :) & that girl does love a good chart :)

  6. P.S. I am not gald....I am glad :)


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