Nothing can ever prepare you for that phone call from your child’s day care centre. You know the one that makes you hold your breath throughout the entire initial pleasantries where you’re silently praying they’re just going to tell you that she has conjunctivitis?
I experienced this phone call just the other week and to say I was embarrassed is an understatement. I could not comprehend how my sweet, dimple-cheeked little girl could have pushed two boys and then proceeded to scratch at one’s face. Surely it was provoked, right?
There is no denying that , when it comes to social interaction, there will always be a few speed bumps along the way. Perhaps nap time not going to plan, the play dough being ingested, kids not always ‘getting’ the fundamentals of sharing. We, as parents, accept these little things. But nothing will ever prepare us for being told that our child has hurt another child.
This was one situation that HAD to be nipped in the bud, immediately. However, as beautiful and charming as my daughter is, she is also strong-willed, demanding and very very clever. In other words, she can’t simply be sat down, talked to and swayed with a lollipop. Trying to be mindful as well as inject change, I didn’t smack her, yell at her or give any kind of time out. I got her excited – about a Star Chart. And this, 3 weeks later, is what has changed her behaviour. I discovered that the process of rewarding her behaviour without anything materialistic being involved worked wonders. Seeing that star on the board had her smiling larger than Luna Park!
These are the things that I found worked well when creating the effectiveness that is my daughter’s Star Chart (putting her name on it definitely helped, she loves to feel ownership and see her name in ‘lights’).
Make it Pretty (or Cool)
Your Star Chart needs to be attractive. In other words, if you have a little girl, perhaps fairies or ladybugs will get her grinning. Or if you have a handsome little boy, cars, diggers and sports may suit him. One of each? Why not create two sections? That way they are happy with their decorations yet are still conveniently on the one chart.
Keep it simple and create goals that are do-able for your child. There is no point having ‘Do your Homework’ as a goal when your child is only 3. It needs to be age appropriate and the star obtainable.
Make it exciting
The goals need to sound like fun when going through them with your little one. Sure, ‘Eating all your Food’ doesn’t sound glorious but when a star goes up next to it, it suddenly becomes more important than chasing ants!
Congratulate Every Star
It’s a big deal when your child goes a whole day of using the potty so let them feel it! A cheer for every stain achieved makes them feel special and have a real sense of pride and achievement. Kids love to make their parents proud so show them that you are.
Don’t make the Star Chart an every now and then thing, or something that happens when you remember. The key to improving behaviour is consistency so try and sit with your child at the same time every evening to go through the Star Chart together. This will soon become an activity they look forward to.
Don’t be upset if they don’t get it right every single day. Let them know there is always tomorrow and encourage them to strive for every single star. Watch their pride grow and their behaviour change, making both child and mum happy.
If you want to make your own star or reward chart, you might find these websites helpful:
- Kids behaviour
- Kids behaviour