Reward charts can be an extremely effective strategy toward the goal of behavior change. In fact when a reward chart is introduced to a child in an inclusive way, a controlled way, and a well planned way, it could be argued that it is one of THE best ways to tap into a child’s sense of inner motivation…and whenever us parents can tap into this, simply put, we have one of the MOST powerful behavior change tools at our disposal.
However, the other side of this argument is that if we don’t effectively elicit this “sense of motivation”, then the real potential of using reward charts is greatly diminished. So what are some of the reasons that may prevent the reward charts from working to their fullest. More to the point, what are some of the circumstances that may occur that will stop reward charts from working at all?
Why Have My Reward Charts Stopped Working?
- The behavior you want your child to stop is being carried out by others in the house. For example if you are targeting your child’s constant interruptions to your conversations with others, then other children in the house should have the same expectation placed on them.
- Your children may just have that type of personality that says “if I feel as though this is a way to control me…then I’m outta here!” This is just how some people are, and this shouldn’t ever be viewed as a fault or a problem. Using reward charts with these ‘fiercely independent’ kids just requires a bit of tweaking with the set-up and the usage of the chart.
- Maybe your child is just too young to start using reward charts. If they haven’t yet developed the idea of “do something now and be rewarded later”, or have an awareness of self-control, then they may not be quite ready.
- The rewards that your children are offered for completing the reward chart may not be motivating enough. Try and choose items or activities that your child actually desires.
- The behavior that you want your child to stop, or the new behavior you want your child to start performing, may be too hard for them, right now. Sometimes factors such as their age, their emotional environment, or indeed their attachment to your responses to their bad behavior, may be overriding the potential of the reward chart.
- Perhaps at times your enthusiasm for the “process” or administration of reward charts may wane. You may not hand out rewards and stickers at the times they are earned, your anger at a bad behavior may override your commitment to the impartiality of the reward chart, you may forget about the chart, or simply not be consistent with how you manage the reward chart. Your role in the success (or failure) of the chart is imperative.
This list mentions some of the more obvious reasons as to why a reward chart isn’t working, or has stopped working for your child. It is not completely comprehensive, but hopefully it will shed some light onto some of the possibilities as to why the reward charts either are not working, have stopped working, or aren’t working as well as they should.