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The behavior charts are a mystery to many parents. But they can also be very effective when used correctly. These 7 tips will help you make better use of the behavior charts so that your children can be happier and behave better.

Tip No. # 1: Use a single measurable objective.

If the behaviors you want your child to start doing cannot be measured, how will you (or your child) know when the behavior has changed?

Look for measurable goals that you can see with your eyes like: Make your bed every morning. Do your homework before watching TV. Take out the trash.

Tip # 2: Express your desired results in positive language.

Instead of focusing on what you want your child to stop doing, focus on what you want him to start doing.

Say, “Put your dishes in the sink” instead of “Stop leaving dishes in the house.” This small distinction will make a big difference.

Tip No. # 3: Start with small expectations.

If your child has been misbehaving or missing homework for several weeks, months, or even years, remember … old habits are hard to break.

Don’t expect her to become your version of a perfect girl overnight. Focus on just one specific action that you would like her to start doing and stick with that goal until she reaches it. Think in small steps and focus on only one behavior change at a time.

Tip # 4: Involve your kids in choosing rewards.

Your child will not respond to the behavior chart if he does not enjoy or does not like the reward. Think about it. Would you like to go to work if you were paid in peanuts? It might work for an elephant, but not for you.

When your child participates in the selection of the reward they are working for (and accepts it!), They will be more willing to participate in using the chart.

Tip No. 5: be patient.

Even if the behavior changes overnight, you should give it some time to become a new habit. Don’t stop using the board just because your child has made the bed 7 days in a row.

Keep using the chart for at least a month on the same behavior to make sure the new behavior is firmly established. As your child improves, he may experience a few “wins” for reaching his goal, and that will feel great.

Tip # 6: Watch your own stress levels.

If you expect your children to be good, you must be a role model. If you deal with their tantrums and defiant behavior with your own tantrum style, things will escalate … quickly.

Find out what keeps you calm and focused so that you can be available for whatever happens while your child is learning to respect himself and the behavior chart system.

Tip # 7: Be consistent.

The behavior tables do not work by themselves. They are driven by responsible parents who act as the backbone of the entire process. Consistency will help build trust between you and your child and will allow your child to feel comfortable trusting the process of using the charts.

If you say you are going to use the chart on a daily basis, do so. If you tell your child that he can make a friend stay the night as a reward for filling his weekly chart, then by all means have the sleepover.

When in doubt, put yourself in their shoes: if your boss tells you that you will be paid on Friday and then comes Friday and says, “No, there is no paycheck for you,” you would start to lose respect for your boss and your work.

Being consistent can be difficult, but if you can pull it off, you will find much more success with behavior charts.

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