Some time ago, I wrote about how tough three has been for us and Mo. She was also having trouble at daycare and we were getting daily reports of her not listening well. I think maybe it was some kind of delayed reaction to Drum's appearance in her life, and she was seeking some attention. So on top of focusing on giving her positive attention whenever possible, I decided to implement a behavior chart.
So far it has worked wonderfully, and I wanted to share!
I did a little Pinteresting and ended up creating a system that rewards her for good behavior and acknowledges bad behavior while giving her the chance to correct it.
Let me first say that the words are pretty pointless. I replicated something on Pinterest, but as soon as we started using it, we realized the flaw in the words. For instance, say she's up on blue, doing great, and she has a problem. We give her a warning and move her to the light orange "warning" status. Then does she have to do four good things to get back up to blue? We couldn't figure out the logistics of it, and we wanted to be consistent form the beginning so we just ignore the words and move her up and down one spot at a time. Good behavior = move up one. Poor behavior = move down one.
We start every day on yellow, and if she is on blue at bedtime, she gets to put three craft pompons in a jar. Once the jar is full, she gets a special prize. We've been through one round of jar-filling, and there were only a couple nights she went to bed without pompons.
Mo really responds to this system. When she is not listening well or making poor choices, I say something like "Do you want to move down to green?" and she immediately changes her behavior. If she doesn't, I move her down and she works hard to move back up. When she does something good, like listening the first time or making a good choice about behavior, I thank her and tell her she can move up a color. Now she'll even say, "Mommy, I was good! Can I be on blue?" And she'll frequently check the chart to see what color she's on. She's thrilled every night when she gets to pick three pompons to put in the jar.
Over the last couple weeks, as she was making progress, we asked her what she'd like her special prize to be when the jar was full. She chose a jump rope, and every time she added pompons, she smiled big and said she was so close to getting her jump rope. Last Friday she filled the jar for the first time, and the next day I took her to the store to pick out a jump rope and some candy (bonus prize!).
We emptied the jar and started over, and she's still responding just as well to this type of motivation. She has been getting great reports from daycare and has been so much more pleasant at home. I'm really proud of her! It may not work for every child because they're all wired differently, but if this might work for your child, give it a try.