Behavioral/Financial Charts

Every child is different! Some are easier than others and some are just born with a VERY strong will! I definitely had my tough one first! I have studied Child Development ( I have my BA in it) and have worked with kids my whole life... but my first child stumped me! It is different when you are a parent and not just a caregiver because you are with the child all the time. I was getting VERY frustrated ALL the time at my sons behavior starting at 2 1/2 years old. Nothing seemed to work! Frustration comes when you don't know what else to do! You have nothing which will effect the child enough so they will make the right choice and listen ON THEIR OWN! 
I came up with a coin chart when my son was three years old and I wish I would have come up with it sooner but we used it effectively for three years! At the age of six we changed it up a bit and he now manages his own REAL money (very important in a child's development and will blog about soon). 
I am going to tell you how it all works and I provided directions on how I made the coin chart below!

First, you need something tangible that your child REALLY likes! So I came up with Character Coins! They are like money but they are even better because they have your child's 6 FAVORITE characters on them! From the beginning, your child will hold value to the coins because of their FAVORITE  characters!

Second, the system you put into place has to have negative consequence to unwanted behavior, along with positive reinforcement with wanted behavior! I ALWAYS say this statement to my son "It's not YOU I don't like, It's the CHOICE you are making!" It's very important that you don't make your child feel that you don't like them or that THEY are bad...It's their DECISION that just might not be a good one. 

So this is how the coins work: Every day your child starts fresh with all six of their coins! It doesn't matter what horrible decisions they made the day before! In life, if it's a new day, we get to start fresh! If your child goes through the day and loses ALL 6 coins they loose a SPECIAL privilege! This needs to be something BIG.... my son lost all TV, video games, and i pod (anything that was electronic). This was REALLY bad for him even at three years old!!! So he definitely didn't want to loose ALL of his coins! Also, there is NO WAY for your child to earn the coins back if they loose them ALL. But they can start over tomorrow! Now, here comes the positive reinforcement of good behavior. DIG for ANYTHING good! You have to be watching for any behaviors you want them to repeat! When they do anything positive say "I really love how you..... (fill in the blank) you have earned a coin back!" Now if they haven't lost any coins yet that day, you can still point out that they made a good decision. If they already have lost ALL their coins, say something like... "I would have loved to give you a coin back for what you just did. I love that decision you just made! Tomorrow is a new day and you can start out fresh with ALL of your coins!"

Here is where it gets good! Most children want things when out shopping right? So this chart helps to eliminate begging for things and helps your child work to EARN what they want. This also helps them to VALUE their things more. How can the chart do this?! This is how: Every day that your child has ALL of their coins at the end of the day, they get a sticker! After earning 10 stickers in a row, they reach a GOAL! This is where you need to set up a system that will work for your family and your child. What we set up for my son was that every time he made ten stickers in a row, he earned a ten dollar goal. This sometimes took him weeks! So if your child is normally pretty good and doesn't want lots of things when you are out, you might want to set up an amount of money that you can save for them when they actually want to get something and the rest can go in their savings account (this is what I'm going to do for my daughter who is a VERY good listener! Meaning, she will probably reach goals every 10 days when it would normally take my son 2/3 weeks to reach a goal!)

What we are trying to do, and what this chart helps us achieve, as parents/caregivers is to show our children that positive things happen when they make good choices and negative things happen when they make unfavorable choices.

Here are some examples to help you understand the chart!
If your child is about to make a decision that isn't ok or they aren't listening to you when you need them to, this is time to warn "I'm gunna have to take a coin if you don't listen or if you don't stop (fill in the blank)." and that is all you say. If it persists you simply say "Ah Oh, that's one coin." You want to try not to get angry in this process... remember you are the parent and you are in control!!! Many times my son would persist and I would have to say, "Ah Oh, that's two coins. Ah Oh, that's three coins....." Normally, they will stop before you take them all away but there have been times when I've taken four coins and I remind my son that he only has two coins left and when he loses ALL of his coins he will lose ALL Tv for the rest of the day! It does help to remind your child especially at this age!

Other things I would say is, "Oh, all of this fighting is draining my energy, do you need to pay me a coin to help me get some of my energy back?" or "Look at all of these toys in the living room, are you going to pick them up or pay me a coin to do it for you?" 
These examples stem from Love and Logic. If you have time click they link and check them out! They really help you get a handle on how to parent in tough situations!

Another thing to remember, when first establishing this chart is your child will test it! They will need to know all of the rules and after that if YOU are going to follow through in making this really work. As a  babysitter and nanny for 15 plus years this is the NUMBER ONE thing I see parents do! THEY don't follow through on the rules so the rules they "try" to put in place don't work! If you want this chart to work in establishing positive behavior in your child YOU have to follow the rules too! Make sure they get a sticker if all of their coins are there by the end of the day! Make sure you tangibly have them go get you a coin if they are doing something unwanted. If you are not home and they lose coins while you are out, have them go get the number of coins lost right when you get home! 
ALSO, explain the rules to everyone who watches your child! If you work the chart effectively but your spouse doesn't, it doesn't work as well because "sometimes" they get away with things and "sometimes" they don't!

Another thing is your goals can sometimes be a special outing with a special person. You can also implement special things you already were planning as a goal! They don't ALWAYS have to cost you money!!! Get creative and think of things your child loves to do! Also, As my son got older and wanted more expensive toys, he would save his goals to reach the price of the specific item! This is good for young minds because they don't understand the concept of money all the way but they do understand how long it takes them to reach a goal. I can't tell you how many times I explained the cost of something to my son by the amount of goals it is! For Example, The Death Star Lego set is around 400 dollars. My husband and I would explain to him that it is FORTY GOALS to buy that!!! He would think about it and then try to choose something else more in his price range! =) Also, I explained to my son when he first started Gymnastics that I pay 5 goals every month for him to be in his class. They take it more seriously if they know those details. 

Lastly, The more you personalize this chart with characters your child loves and stickers of their FAVORITE things, the more effective this chart will be! 

I REALLY hope this helps you parents/caregivers out there, in need of a plan! If implemented right, this chart works with any child age 2 1/2 to 6 years! PLEASE let me know in comments if there is something I didn't explain enough or if you have any other questions!!! I will be happy to help!

How to make a Coin Chart:
Have your child help pick 6 different picture from the internet of their favorite characters and print them out. I used a compass to make a 3 inch circle around each print out!
 For fun I have used a rainbow theme but you can customize to just use your child's favorite colors! I used a glue stick and glued the pictures to a 3 1/2 inch circle of a plain color paper. Then I took the six coins to Kinkos copy store (you can go to any store like it near you). They have a lamination machine and it costs 2 dollars for an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet. Your coins will all fit on that size paper! Cut them out and there are your coins! *Tip: watch out that you don't cut too close to the coin... you can see where the seal stops on the laminate and you don't want to cut into it!

Here is my sons old chart which I got lucky and used to make my daughters new chart! You need to make pockets at the top of the chart for the coins to be placed in and pulled out by your child. I also laminated the front of the pockets labeled character, C, O, I, N, and S because if you just left them paper they would not be very sturdy for daily use! Once laminated, I just hot glued the edges down to make a pocket for the coins to fit into!
 This piece of paper is just a regular poster board from any craft store which costs about 30 cents! If you choose a smaller piece of paper, remember that you are going to have to size down your coins! This is one of the reasons I used such a big sheet of paper!
 Another reason it is good to use this size is because of most sticker sizes. This chart makes perfect spaces for ten regular stickers in a row! If you make the boxes too small you will have to search for really small stickers to fit in the spaces. So you make rows of ten boxes for your stickers and the larger box to the right is where you write in what goal they got! The blank space to the left is to fill in with fun pictures your child will like.... get creative, the more personalized, the better!
Here is my big 3 1/2 year old, excited to start her coin chart! =) I think it's so cute how her FAVORITE coin is Jack Black! If she doesn't listen, this coin is the LAST one she will choose to go! =)
 *A good Tip, Try to push through the first ten stickers to the first goal with your child. You want them to understand that they EARN things for positive behavior and that this chart will really work for them!! If they have already been asking you for a special toy or something like that, write it down in the  goal column on the right so they can get excited about the special thing!

*In the real world, if we do good work we get compensation! This chart gets your child ready for REAL life work and helps them not to just expect things handed to them whenever they want it! Hope this system works as well for you as it has for me and I would LOVE to hear about how it is working and see pictures of the charts you make!

*UPDATE* I have just hit the one year anniversary for my blog, October 2012! I can't believe the responses I have gotten in just a few short months! If you have made this chart and would like to share it or have questions, I have JUST started a Facebook page and would love it if you could share a photo of your chart and how it's working for you! Also, PLEASE "like" my facebook page while you are there! Thank you for your support! HERE is the link!

*I finally put together a post about others who have made their own charts! Click HERE if you what to see what others have done!

 Travel Coin Chart

 Due to such a LARGE response to my Coin Chart, A Behavioral and financial plan for you 2/6 year old, I wanted to show you all what I have done when we go on trips. You need to have your system with you wherever you go! Especially when you are taking a family trip, you want your child to behave so the family can relax and most importantly HAVE FUN! I made a travel chart for my son out of a simple file folder! You can see from the picture above that we have used this chart MANY times! We LOVE to travel to California a few times a year! 
Ok, so here it is! When you open up the folder you see the coins at the top. I used actual nickels! My son LOVED this and we just painted them different colors! The ten sticker chart system is below with a column on the right for GOALS. Then below that I added some fun stickers that I know he would like to choose from and don't forget you need a space to put the coins when your child looses one! 
This is a perfect size chart to just slip into your backpack and have with you at all times! The best thing is you child can earn something special, just for them, when you on the trip for their good behavior...
A close up shot of the nickles. You just attach them with Velcro and hot glue.... I used the softer side on the actual coin and the scratchy side on the chart!

A Chart System For You Elementary Child

I'm moving on in the chart system to show you what I did with my son once I noticed that we needed to update the Coin Chart System to something else! Once your child reaches Kindergarten you really need to be teaching them about REAL money. They should be able to earn it and manage it! If you don't start now they will have trouble knowing what to do when they are older!

First thing I did was thought of a few areas which my son needs to work on, or areas he has trouble with. These can ALWAYS be changed on the chart as the child grows up and changes. I made up four columns of areas I want him to work on and ALWAYS have an OTHER column (things always pop up that wont fit into a certain category)! These columns are where all of his GOOD marks go! You can also use the columns to put their daily chores in... but I wanted as many chances as I can to PRAISE my child so all of his chores fall under helping out or cleaning up! 

Then, you have what I call Oops Marks! This is anything your child does that isn't ok, behaviors you don't want them to repeat! Here is where the coins system stays the same.... If your child gets 6 Oops marks in one day, they lose a special privilege. For my son, he would lose ALL TV and video games for the rest of the day!

Now, here is where the money comes in! For every mark on the good side, my son earns 10 cents. For every Oops mark he pays us 10 cents! I LOVE that is is only 10 cents because you can search for good things your child does ALL day long and constantly point them out with a good mark! This is the big change that we made from the "Coin System" because as you child gets older, situations become more complicated! It's good to have a system that is open ended! Also, I think it changes us as parents because we are searching for the GOOD in our children and not just focusing on the bad all the time! It seriously changes the mood of the whole family!
*Tip: Change the amount of money the child gets for each mark by their age! If you are doing this with your 6 year old and your 9 year old, your 9 year old should be making more per mark!
(pictured: my son calculating his marks at the end of the week)

Here are some examples of how the chart works:
 Anytime I ask my son to help me out by getting me something I need and bringing it to me, and he does it....without complaining, I will say "Brenden, that was such a big help to mommy, you get a helping out mark!" or on a shorter note, "Thank you Brenden, that's a mark!" If it is something he just does by himself without me asking him and it helps me out A LOT I might say, "Brenden, that was such a big help to me, I am giving you 2 or 3 marks for that!"
If his sister hits him on the head and he looks at her and says "I don't like it Kiki, that really hurts!" I would reply to him, "Brenden, thank you for using your words and not hitting your sister back! That is a mark !" Then I would deal with sister!
Something that may fit in the "Other" column might be, if my son told the truth about something when he could have lied! Or, if I thought something he did was sweet... example, My daughter was crying for daddy when he left for work and my son went up to her and said, "Kiki, brother is here, you can play with me! Come on, here is a toy!" and he got her to stop crying....This could also fall under the "Helping Out" column.... But all that really matters is you give them marks for good behavior! REMEMBER, the stuff you REALLY want them to repeat, give them MORE than one mark! It really helps to show them what behaviors you value!
The Oops marks are pretty self explanatory... If your child makes a bad choice you can say, "Oh, that's too bad you chose to do that! That is an Oops mark!" If it's REALLY bad, give them more than one Oops mark.... just as above this will show them the behaviors that you really feel shouldn't be repeated. Don't forget to remind them, when they are getting close to 6 Oops marks in one day, of the special privilege they will lose! It's pretty bad if they get 12 Oops marks in one day (my son has done it twice when we first started the chart) but if it ever gets to that point you can take away another privilege! 

The example below is of the chart I created in Adobe Illustrator, for a span of 4 weeks! You can just print a bunch of these out and have them ready to put up once the four weeks are over! You won't believe how fast it goes by! At the bottom I made up a place to total up the marks! You total up the good marks then subtract the Oops marks and get the amount of marks you will be paying you child for! For example, if my son made 48 good marks and 7 Oops marks...that would equal 41 marks I will pay him for which is 4 dollars and 10 cents! It's simple and straight forward!

On the topic of money, in the real world you get compensated for the work you do at your job. In MOST cases, if you don't work, you don't get paid! So at the end for the week, we say "It's time for your Compensation....not your Allowance." Also, if you can put into practice some way that your child saves some of the money they earn, that would be GREAT practice for the future! Remember you are raising and ADULT and you want them to learn good habits to take with them in the future!
*For this chart to work, no matter how busy it gets, try to pay your child WEEKLY! Also have them be the one to calculate, with your help, how much they earned and how much they have to pay you!

*Although, this chart posted isn't decorated much.... like the Coin System, try to decorate the chart or have your child decorate it to make it more "FUN"!

*My system is only a suggestion, and things are different in every family! I hope you take the basic ideas and use them to apply them to your family and children! Your children, even if they are all close in age might all have different charts! This is a good thing! Take the differences in your children and make up a system JUST FOR THEM!!!! That is the way you will get the most progress and positive behaviors out of them! ALWAYS REMEMBER, when you start a new system, your child might seem that they are getting worse before they are getting better, ALL children will test the system to see if it's gunna work like you say it will!
I hope these ideas help you get on track with your child! PLEASE leave me any questions you may have in the comments section! I would LOVE to help!
For the simple PDF file of this chart click HERE!
I added it to the original post!

I had to post this link! EVERY parent should read this!
It is on why kids don't listen the first time we say something!
 Click HERE!

I also recently found an article on how to cope with sibling arguments/fighting!
It has really helped to remind me about a few things we should be trying to do when our children get upset! You can use these techniques even with a single child!
Click HERE!


  1. I just found this link for the chart off of pinterest and am going to make this for my 3 year old VERY strong willed son. I read through all of your comments and was wondering if you had every posted in more detail about the other chart for your son with the real money? I also have a 7 year old who is strong willed. We can not find ANYTHING that works for either of our boys as far as discipline so I am hoping that the chart will work for my 3 year old, but would love to get something in place for my 7 year old as well. I LOVE the travel chart as well, can't wait to try it. How do you do the chart for your daughter say when you travel to the in-laws just for the weekend? This is where we probably need it most! Our kids think that all rules go out the window when we get to Ummy & Papas.



    1. Hi Brandy, Yes people have been asking about my son's chart that I stepped up to with him! It's very simple but it works! I will post about it before the weekend is over!
      If you use the travel chart just over the takes place of the large chart at home! However many stickers your child has on his big chart at home have him fill in the travel chart....So if he has four stickers, let him put four on the travel chart before you leave! Your child most likely wont reach a goal if you are only going away for the weekend but your system STAYS with you! If they made any extra stickers over the weekend have them add that number to their larger chart when you get home! This system is good for grandparents too because they feel like they have a little more leverage because they can say "I'm gunna have to take a coin if you don't stop this behavior!" Also, your first time going to grandparents house after starting the chart remind your child....ALL of the rules are staying the same while we are away and show them how their travel chart is like their larger chart at home! My son helped me make the travel chart! It helps them care about it more! They take pride in the system!
      And remember your children will almost seem like they get WORSE (testing) when you first start the new system just stick to the rules and they will get it! Hope this helps! =)

  2. Anonymous3/31/2012

    Colleen - this is brilliant!! I can't wait to try it - especially for Reese!

  3. Sharon5/11/2012

    Hi! I stumbled on this blog post on my pediatrician's facebook page awhile back. We finally got around to creating the chart for our 4 and a half-year-old, and today was our first day implementing it. Just wanted to thank you for the idea! I'm already realizing the hardest part for me will be following through on taking the coins away when necessary. I'm kind of a pushover in the discipline department (which is probably why we need a specific system like this!) Thanks again!

    1. Sharon,
      Cool how you found me!! Is your Pediatrician Dr. Stuppy? I used to be her nanny when her kids were younger! =) I'm so excited that you are doing the chart for your daughter! I know it is hard to follow through on discipline and that is why this chart makes it just a little easier because you are just taking away a coin AND they can earn it back!!! Remember that you can remind your daughter once she loses a coin... "You can always change your behavior and earn your coin back!" It will really help you in the long run...Stay strong!!! =) Let me know how it is going later on...

  4. I love this! I'm almost done making one for my 3 year old son. All the comments and replies helped to answer my questions too. Have you posted a link where others have submitted pictures of their own?

    1. Katie,
      I have collected a few pictures of others who have made a chart for their children or kids they nanny!
      I have yet to write a blog post with all of the pictures...
      If you make your and want to send me a pick just email me!
      I will try and post about it soon!

  5. Thank you for your detailed explanation.
    We have also used charts at different times ... it doesn't seem to suit either me, my son, or our family life to have the same chart all the time but it is very normal for us to have 'something we are working on' sticky-tacked to the dining-room door!
    At the moment we have 'motivation charts' up and as my 7 year-old autistic son is battling with self over toiletting - basically missing the sensations when he is too busy thinking about other things - we had got to a stage where he was almost always managing but 'missing' when he wasn't paying attention/focussing or refusing to take the advice of an adult that a toilet visit ould be a REALLy good idea!
    He was sensitive about this though, and is frustrated with himself that he has these 'misses' and was ranting about why he has to work extra hard to manage his behaviour ... so I relised he couldn't cope with being different, yet again ... so ... I have a chart too ... I'm trying to control my diet to lose weight.
    So he has a motivation chart for 'Toilet Control' and I have one for 'Diet Control' and we are each collecting coins for each successful day. He's saving for a specific toy and I cought myself a bargain mixture bag of charm bracelet beads from Ebay and I exchange 5 coins for a bead to wear on my bracelet.
    To my son's great delight I haven't been doing too well ... a few family events that i have baked for and a wedding that we went to, then a campout and BBQ ... Oh dear! So he has 13 coins and I only have 11 ...
    VERY motivating! and I think it is a really important teaching point that we all have things we are working on, even grown-ups, and that if you really want or need to do something that is tought to keep focussing on, a motivation chart of some kind can help you!

  6. I found you on pinterest and love this idea! My 3 year is so head strong, so I'm looking forward to this. I bought my poster board today! I showed this to her online and explained how it was going to work and I even brought up having her coins taken away before it was made and it worked! lol She didn't want her coins taken away, even though we didn't actually have them yet. I like the idea of the colored nickels in the travel one. I think I may just do that instead of creating the character coins, even though they are cute too. I'm looking forward to creating this and hopefully having it work. What size are the squares you put stickers in on your board? Thanks so much for this idea!!

    1. Misty, I LOVE that it is already working without the chart! We actually started that with our daughter as well BEFORE her chart was made and she would listen! =)
      I would strongly suggest to make the coins! They REALLY love the different characters,
      when my daughter REALLY isn't listening we threaten her FAVORITE coin "jack Black"
      It's always the last one to go if she is choosing!

      The little sticker boxes are about an inch square...
      Hope it all works out well for you!

  7. Heather8/29/2012

    I know this sounds very lazy, but I was wondering if you could share your last chart with us, to eliminate the process of creating it? I certainly appreciate it AND your wonderful ideas too! THANK YOU!!!!!

    1. Heather8/29/2012

      Oh, Oh, I do mean in the format that you used, that we can go into it and save it, please. (If it is even possible)...THANK YOU!

    2. Heather,
      I am pretty new to blogging...
      I recently learned how to post a PDF file but that wouldn't work because you need to fill it in with the areas you want to work on per your own child!
      I asked my husband and he said he could help me.... He works with computers....
      but I don't know how long it will take to get him to actually help me VS. how long it will take me to figure it out myself! =)
      I will try to work on posting something....
      If I get it up I will reply back here so you will know!
      Sorry That I can't easily post something!

  8. Heather8/30/2012

    Oh goodness, don't spend all your time trying to do that. I'll just figure it out. I seem to be the only one requesting the "easy" route anyway. Imma just buck up and bite the bullet. :D Thank you though! I appreciate your help in many ways! Blessings!!

    1. Ok, I added a PDF file on the original post of this chart!
      you will have to fill it in after printing it out!
      hope this helps!

    2. Heather9/26/2012

      Now that is just sweeter than sugar of you! Thank you so much! Blessings to your family and a great big "Thank You" to your computer savvy hubby! ;) God Bless!

  9. I have a 6 year old (well, will in a month) and I think I am going to start him with the oops chart! I have a really hard time with him and I get frustrated a lot. He already has an understanding of money (knows things cost money, and we can't always afford something) so I think the oops chart would work for him. Just need to find someone computer saavy to make me the chart so I can get it printed!

    1. Ok, I added a PDF file on the original post of this chart!
      you will have to fill it in after printing it out!
      hope this helps!

    2. Oh, that is fantastic!! Thank you so much! Can't wait to get this all set up and ready to go!

  10. I just have to say THANK YOU!!! I was nearly at my wits end with my 5 year old daughter. I was really considering therapy for her behavior. I saw your behavior chart on Pinterest and gave it a try. I made almost an exact duplicate. Words cannot express the miraculous turn around in behavior! It is absolutely amazing. I actually overheard her say, "I'm not going to do that because I don't want to lose a coin." I was stunned. Pleasantly so. She earned her reward in 12 days and is such a pleasure to be around now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating an amazing behavior chart.

  11. I have worked as a nanny for 12 years and used some great charts but now I am a mom I need that extra help with my own son. Over all an amazing two year old but at home and I run a home daycare he pushes me to my limit. I am so excited to make this chat for him and start using it right away. Thank you for sharing and in such detail so both my husband and I can follow this together.

  12. Anonymous11/21/2012

    You are really gifted. If only I had this a few years ago for my strong willed child. I still think I'll use this idea just adjust it a bit for my older kids. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas.

    1. First of all, Thank You for the complement, you are very sweet! I don't know how old your children are but I have adapted these principle rules of my chart system for elementary children! My oldest is now almost 7 and his chart system works wonders for him! It is also a great way for him to earn money of his own!
      here is the link if you didn't get to see it!

  13. Anonymous12/06/2012

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. Love the mix of positive reinforcement (getting things for good behavior) and negative punishment (losing things for unwanted behavior)! The combination has shown time and time again in the research to be better than either method alone. I love this and I am making this for my son as we speak. :-)

  14. Anonymous12/07/2012

    Every parent has to do what they think is best for their family; kudos to everyone for being so invested in their children!
    I had someone send me a link to your wonderful charts, asking if I would ever consider using one, and the short answer, for me and my children, is "no". For those of you with highly spirited children, I thought it might be invaluable to share my thought process, even if you don't think similarly yourself. Personally, I don't agree with grand scale reward prompts for behavioral reinforcement. My goal instead is to reinforce autonomous conduct and thinking; the desired outcome is for our children to make good decisions based upon their own character and conscience, not because they will be rewarded for doing the "right" thing. Instead of rewards, I prefer to reinforce behavior by (a) modeling the expectation, (b) explaining and encouraging the expectation, and (c) praising when the expectation is attempted/met. I personally think it's a slippery slope to make behavior dependent upon a reward, as then the child's focus is directed upon obtaining a tangible reward proffered from an external source, instead of reinforcing the intrinsic satisfaction of a job well done. This is why, for example, I never paid my older daughter for doing her chores (integral to family function) or getting good grades (she's a straight-A student), etc. We want to raise children of conscience, character and integrity with healthy allegiance to family and the community at large; we want children to be able to think and discern the "right" choice for themselves even if no one is looking, even if no one is giving them a star, or token, etc. One of the fabulous things about high-spirited children is that they're invariably very bright and intuitive; if you take the time to model, explain and praise, these children invariably respond with happiness and beam with pride! When we shortchange them, however, that's when the frustration and anxiety and stubbornness arises. Rewards may circumvent those negative responses in the short-term, but what are you teaching your child in the long run? Personally, I want my children to learn to make good decisions for themselves simply because they recognize the decisions to be good, not because they are rewarded externally for making them.....

    1. "Anonymous" by reading your response, it seems that you have some schooling in Education or Child Development!? I totally agree with all that you have stated: (a)Modeling, (b)Explaining/encouraging, and (c)praising! These are all tools that should be in your bag as a parent! Just as a repairman comes to a job with a BAG full of tools, my chart is just ONE of the tools needed to help raise children who make good decisions based upon their own character and conscience!

      First of all, MOST children respond better when ALL of their senses are used in learning what behaviors are wanted and/or not wanted! Especially SMALL children!! This chart helps to give a visual and tangible experience along with the teaching you need to do as a parent. I based my chart off of "love and logic", you can go to this website and see for yourself that it is all about what you stated above,

      I in no way have said that you should PAY or REWARD your child for contributing to the family, with stuff like chores....

      "Anonymous", I need to ask you a question... What do you think "PRAISE" is!?! In the situations you are stating above, it is THE reward!!!!
      What happens the ONE time you fail to praise them for something that they normally get praise for?

      Realistically speaking, MOST parents have never even taken a class in parenting. The only thing they know is from their experiences with their own family!!! And the parents who come here to find and make this chart are obviously wanting MORE for their children than what was modeled to them!!! I know I want that!!!! That is why I've done so much research to create this system!!!

      Lastly "Anonymous", Do you go to work everyday for FREE? In this world, you can't survive if you don't get paid! That is REAL LIFE!!!! I teach my children that hard work and good decisions are how you survive and excel!

      ***I need to address something here for ALL parents out there...not just for "Anonymous"! We live in an IMPERFECT world! No parent can model PERFECTION!!!! Don't try and live up to that, just do your best and WHEN you mess up say you are sorry! This chart is only supposed to be ONE of the tools you use along with the ones stated above.... there are also MANY more but this is only one blog post... we would be here forever if I could list them all!

  15. Anonymous12/08/2012

    Hi Colleen!
    I think the charts presented here are wonderfully creative, and I, in no way, am foisting my opinion upon anyone else; I merely shared my thoughs because I found the process of defining my own position compelling, and I thought my post might prompt others to do the same, even if they don't think similarly to me at all.
    Nope, no specific degrees in child development, but I am well-read and the eldest of nine children spanning twenty two years, as well as the proud mommy of two girls 15.5 years apart. As a 46yo Mommy of a 19yo and 4yo, I suspect that I have a bit of different a vantage point than either you or most of your readers; parenting theory certainly has evolved generationally over the years!
    While I certainly admire the creativity involved in all the neat charting systems shown, I personally am of the 'keep it simple' school of thought...why make it so gosh darn complicated?! I think some of that mind set has arisen because families are much smaller these days, and children are growing up sorted into homogenous age groupings where they have little opportunity and/or free time to hone their own autonomy via the modeling and mentoring of many different people of many different ages...because people are oh, so busy these days, and there is far less opportunity for children to learn how to self-regulate. In this frenetic paced society of ours, parents are impatient with what I refer to as "toddler time", they expect wee ones to hup-to and respond with a deference to the clock that children simply don't have, thus the children balk and whine and complain, and parents respond with impatience, and round and round we go. The simple answer, for me anyway, is to slow down...the work-a-day stuff is relegated to the back seat, and I strive to remain in-the-moment with my kids. If they are out of sorts, there is probably good reason; personally, I'd rather figure out the actual crux of the matter than distract my child into submission with some kind of reward....but that's just me.
    Nope, I don't agree that praise is the reward; the reward is a child's intrinsic satisfaction with a job well done. Praise and/or positive affirmation is the means by which we hone the child's conscience and character; if a child has a well developed conscience and character, they will make good choices whether they receive praise, or any external reward, or not. Our end game as parents is to grow our child's autonomy; we do this by teaching them to discern what is good and why it is good, Instead of merely having a behavioral expectation, it is imperative that we teach our children how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, it is critical that we teach our children how to actually think.

  16. Anonymous12/08/2012

    (Part 2)
    You raised a very interesting point when you brought up getting paid for work, as our rush to foist adult concepts upon children is a curiously American phenomenon. There's been lots written on the subject, our tendency to impress our adult expectations upon our children that is not seen in similar measure in any other western civilization. Social scientists have postulated that is why we have such a notable backlash phenomena (e.g. baby wearing and the like), because of the extreme societal pressure today's American parent endures. Personally, I think we should protect and foster the exquisite wonder and timelessness of childhood for as long as we possibly can, for there is plenty of time for children to join the ranks of the work-a-day world when they, too, grow old. By protecting that buffer, during our children's critical development, I believe they learn to be resilient, they learn to self-regulate, they learn to discern their own truths....all the things that are oh, so very critical when they do, in fact, become engaged and involved in the challenges of school and work, etc. When you rush that, when you attempt to regulate your children to the -enth degree, I think that you can, ironically, end up reinforcing the very negative responses that behavioral charts serve to circumnavigate.
    That said, I'm just one mommy, and that's my own opinion, unpopular or no...
    Sincerest thanks for your lovely blog, as well as the pleasure of interacting with you. You are obviously a very smart woman, and I appreciate all that you do! K-

    1. This will b short because its hard to comment from my phone! =] Thank u for responding!!! I totally agree with all you have said... But I don't think there is one answer to this ... Parenting is different... Even per child! Another reason why I love seeing what others do with this chart idea (making it their own)! There are no simple answers and yes in cases like it seems with your girls... R there is no need for a chart...
      I have stated before that I have my degree in Child Development and I stayed at home with my son, only child at the time.... No time restrictions... No pushing out the door... He would throw FITS!!! He would punch and kick me, throw things, NOTHING worked for him!!!! This chart system made all the difference!!! I love that you give your opinion on what is good for you because a lot of people will never have a child like this.... But in my case and others a like... They are searching for anything that will help them deal with their child!!!

    2. I just don't want your comments above to deter a caregiver or mother with a child similar to my son.... This is why I reacted so strongly at first!!! I have worked with HUNDREDS of children... But some people have only had one and they are struggling with how to handle everyday situations... A lot of times this makes these parents feel like failures because their child is acting up when most of the other children they see in public or even in the family don't act that way!!! Was it my fault my son would hit me?

    3. No... But I know that because I have felt with so many other children over the years... But for some... This is the only child they have ever felt with and they could blame themselves.... Just wanted to share that point!!! Thank you so much for your comments!! I love hearing your opinions on the issue!!!

    4. Sorry about the typos above... Obviously "felt" = *dealt... My phone is so difficult to comment from!

    5. After finally getting to a desktop..... I have to respond to one other point you brought up!!! You took my statement of TEACHING my children how money and real life works as... "rush to foist adult concepts upon"! I TOTALLY disagree with this! I understand that you want to let a child be a child... but they are learning everyday... a child's "work" is play!!! As they go through their day, it is up to us to "teach" them as creatively as possible... not making it be something FORCED upon them! I feel this chart system is a creative and FUN way to get your child involved, to learn what positive and negative behaviors bring, and to teach a little about how to live in the real world!
      If we didn't slowly teach adult concepts, they would turn 18 and be lost! We spend MANY more years as adults than children! I have read it many times... "We are raising Adults!"

  17. I just wanted to say really quick- you have honestly and sincerely saved my sanity. I am a single mother. My sons father sees him every other weekend and his grandfather lets my son get away with everything. I have a 2 1/2 year old (single child) who screams and cries for everything. If he doesn't get what he wants, he hits, kicks, and screams. Even when I respond in a loving, calm voice- he screams. He doesn't seem to do this at his fathers or my fathers house... but he will at mine.I made a chart and started the system two weeks ago and now life is SO MUCH EASIER. I didn't realize how much of a difference it made until two nights ago. My son was used to falling asleep to movies... he would scream and wake my boyfriend and I up to start the movie over again. Two nights ago, my boyfriend restarted a movie, but not the one he wanted...mind you, it was 4AM!... he screamed, kicked, hit, threw toys...a fit so large we thought he was going to hurt himself with how wild he was being. I tried calming him down- but didn't want to reward bad behavior by restarting the film... it's hard to remember the good boy chart at 4am...but then I finally did. I took a coin away and put it into "Jail" (made a box jail- mainly so I remembered where the coins were). He was immediately quiet. He went to sleep.. he now doesn't go to sleep with movies and happily goes to bed. It has been a NIGHTMARE for months.... I am so grateful to have found this blog.

    1. Kimberly, I have wanted to comment back on this for a while! Thank you so much for this! I love hearing how the chart is helping others with their little ones! This is the reason I blog, to help other moms out! I am so happy that you are seeing results so quickly!

  18. Hi! I stumbled across this post at the most trying time of my 2 1/2 year old's life. He has been very rebellious for a while now, and I will not lie, have definitely wanted to throw him out the window a few times. lol I will be talking to the husband about trying out this method. I was a little curious. Would it be inappropriate to take a con away when he refuses to eat his supper? But rewarding him when he does eat it? Just curious. And I wonder if you would explain how the child earns a sticker on your original chart a little more? just want the well behaved little boy I used to know to make a reappearance!!!

    1. Dory,
      I totally understand how you feel!!!! So happy I'm not there anymore with my big boy! =)
      To your question about food.... Never take a coin away when they don't eat!!!
      I would just try to encourage them to try a bite but if they don't like it they can chose not to eat it!
      However, Definitely they can earn a coin for eating!!!! Anything positive that you want to be repeated you
      want to praise and reinforce with coins!!!
      The sicker is simple.... if they have all of their coins at the end of the day, they get one for the day!!!
      If you have trouble at bedtime, you might want to wait till each morning to look at his chart and figure out if he kept all of his coins....
      If he didnt keep all of his coins explain to your son, "We always have the option to change or behavior and start over so you start each day with ALL of your coins! Let's try again today and maybe we will keep them all! I KNOW you can do it!!!"

      Hope this helps!!!!

  19. I'm eager to try this with my almost three year old son. Nothing we do seems to deter him from tantrums and not listening. He's obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine right now, so this would be a great way to encourage him to earn those expensive trains!

    One question I have is how do you enforce this when you're out running errands? My son loves throwing tantrums while I', demanding things, hitting, etc. He knows I can't put him on time out with a cart full of groceries, and it's gotten to the point where I dread leaving the house with him. I feel like if j say, "When we get home you lose a coin." He wouldn't respond. I tell him when he acts out that when we get home he loses trains or t.v. and it doesn't affect him while we're in the situation, then when we get home he's totally shocked when I remind him he's lost TV or toys. What would you suggest? Thanks!

    1. Jelena, While you are out, for a little while you can bring the coins with you and have an envelope he has to put it in when he loses one.... the other great thing about bringing the coins is when he is behaving while you are out, he can earn one back!!!! this will help him learn what behaviors are desired of him while you are out! Also, If he is getting too out of hand, I would recommend to leave the full cart and take him to the car! Maybe you can ask someone at the front before you leave to hold your cart for you.... I would say "We are going to have calm down time in the car." and to your question below.... you don't have to make a whole new chart.... just cover over the sticker squares with another sheet.... I will tell you that it almost took a whole year for my son to fill up his chart and for me to cover over his stickers to start over! hope this helps! Good luck!

  20. Oh also, don't you have to make a new chart every time this is filled?

  21. Anonymous8/04/2014

    Well, I have a very strong willed 71/2 yr old boy, sounds like your boy. He is often in trouble at school grade 1, so his teacher asked that I have him assessed and results were positive for ADHD,much to my dismay. So I have been considering a behavior chart that would work, in addition to omega 3,6,9 supplementation that I started. Being a single older parent, and fulltime 'working away from home mum' on a small budget, I simply can't time consuming projects, but do not want to go the medication route, with all the side effects that can have. However I adapted your chart and after 1 day I can say it worked a charm! I What a difference it would have made to my life if I started a few years ago !! What I am doing is 5 small coins, for which he earns a rand end of the day, if he retains all 5 coins. Once he has 10 rand in coins, he can cash that in for a 20 rand note, if he has not spent his coins. If he does random kind and helpful stuff he earns, if he is disobedient or rude or aggressive he loses. One problem is he is trying to set the stakes higher. Another problem is that he is going to try and manipulate the rules, so I will have to be very clear and consistent. Another problem is that bath and bed time is a battleground,so he started to lose is coins, but because we wanted success first day, I had to prompt him to earn his points back. It is more than earning money, he likes to acheive goals, and a good self esteem. I am going to keep posting on my progress... , We will just use the coins and some fridge magnets for now, and evolve it into a craft thanks, a lovely blog, Helen

    1. Helen,
      I am so happy you can use the coins with your son!!! My now 8 year old son is like a different child because of this system we have in place for him! It helps give them some control but sets great boundaries at the same time! Thank you for commenting and I would love to hear your progress as time goes by!!! =)

  22. I made a modified version of your coin chart but basically the same concept for my behavioral special needs child who is 5 years old. It has been such a blessing. I have 5 kids and I have had very simple charts for them, but this one has been a God send with how it affects his behavior. He loves his coins which he designed and he hates losing them. He doesn't really care of getting prizes for coins, just doesn't want us to put them in the lost coin slot. All we have to say is do you want to give us a coin or if you do that you will lose a coin and he quickly redirect himself (unless what he wants is worth losing that coin :), but at least he knows what the consequence is going to be. Thanks again for this wonderful idea.

    My chart has coins across the top like yours with the slots - but the bottom has a bunch of printed out small pictures of chores that he is capable of doing and then rows of squares that he can add dots with a dry erase marker for each coin. The whole thing is laminated. After so many dots he can buy something from the store or order a movie online. We can add rows, so as he gets older we can make it longer to obtain his prizes.


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