There was a time this winter when this mama and daddy needed a little extra something to pull out of their pockets to help an adorable little soon to be five-year old with his behavior. We were seeing way too many meltdowns and fits. My husband came across this magical little plan from Life Sprinkled With Glitter. I would recommend going to this blog to read all the background information about this program. She really did do a nice job of setting it up and we are SO THANKFUL for the idea.
First, I’ll show you how I created the chart and then give you summary of how it works!
I started with a neon green piece of tag board. I cut off a strip at one end so that I could evenly measure out the pockets to hold the coins at the top of the chart.
To create the pockets at the top that hold the coins, I cut off a small strip (about 8-inches) from one end of the tag board. I divided and cut this into two smaller strips (2-inches). I cut each of the strips into 4-inch by 2-inch rectangles for the pockets. After cutting the strips off the whole chart measured 24-inches by 22-inches.
Now for the fun part! Find pictures of characters your child is really interested in on the Internet. I printed them off on the color printer and glued them to colored cardstock. Make sure you check to make sure your coin will fit in the 4-inch pocket before you get too far (mine were 3-1/2 inches). Will is really into Transformers so that was theme of our chart. He loves looking at each coin and is particular about which ones get turned around first. This is really the part where you get your kids to “buy in” to the chart and take ownership. You can stick with one theme like we did or use a variety of characters/items your child is interested in.
I also cut letters out using my Cricut machine to label each pocket (Will’s C – O – I – N – S). For durability I laminated each pocket and coin and cut them out.
Here’s the part that takes a while. I measured out spacing to draw the grid on the chart. [My measurements were 4-1/2 inches from the left and then ten 1-1/2 inch squares, and ending with another 4-1/2 inch area at the right.] I just used a level with ruler markings on it. I measured each line and used a permanent marker to draw the line using the level as my straight edge. You want to make the squares big enough to fit a regular-sized sticker. I also left a longer box at the right side to write in the reward he earned at the end of each row of stickers. I cut out the letters to spell “GOALS” and pasted them down the right side of the chart.
I also hot glued the pockets onto the top of the chart. This worked okay, but may experiment with a way to keep them on there better. They need to be pretty sturdy with all the coin movement that happens each day. I have tried to repair the pockets with super glue, but that doesn’t stick the best either (surprisingly).
We hung the chart up on Will’s bedroom door so he has access to it and has a visual reminder for positive behavior at the beginning and end of each day.
POSITIVE BEHAVIOR COIN CHART: HOW IT WORKS!!
1) Will starts each day with all 6 coins facing forward (charter side showing) as pictured above.
2) Throughout the day we make a conscious effort to notice not only the misbehavior, but the positive behaviors as well. When a misbehavior happens he is often given a reminder. We may say something like, “Will, I asked you to put your shoes on. If you don’t start putting your shoes on by the time I count to 5, you will lose a coin. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5” If at the end of the count he hasn’t followed through, then we simply say, “You have lost a coin”. At that time either Will or one of us turns the first coin around so the character is not showing. Will often gets very upset when he loses a coin (most days).
3) At anytime he is able to earn back coins that have been turned around. Will caught on to this very quickly. It is funny how they will notice when they have done something good and ask if they have earned back a coin. When we notice a positive behavior we say, “Will I really like how you helped me out by watching your brother while I had to do this or that, you have earned a coin back.” At that moment the coin can be turned around to show the character again.
4) The only time coins cannot be earned back is when the child has lost all 6 coins in a day. Not only can the coins not be earned back, but another consequence is given. In our house once all 6 coins have been lost, Will also loses all privileges with screen time (TV, i-Pad, Nook, etc.).
5) If at the end of the day Will has kept (or earned back) all 6 coins he can put a sticker in one of the boxes within a row.
6) When Will has earned all the stickers in a row (10 stickers), he has met his goal for that time period. This could be as soon as 10 days, but could also take longer than that. Will varies in the speed he earns his rewards. I can tell you as the weeks pass, he is earning those rewards more quickly because his behavior has improved so much.
7) GOALS: You can either assign a dollar amount to each row of stickers ($10/row) that can be turned in for a tangible reward or saved up for a larger $ amount item (4 rows = $40). You can also do special time spent together for a reward. We do a mixture of buying toys and doing fun things together.
8) No matter what the previous days’ behavior entailed, the next day the child starts with all 6 coins showing. Always good to start each day with a clean slate!
**Here are some examples of rewards Will has chosen: Trip to Toys R Us to cash in a reward, Transformer toy, Bowling, trip to Cherry Berry and he’s working towards a trip to Barnes and Noble next. You really can do whatever you feel most comfortable with.**
We have been very happy with how this program as worked in our house. I think the best part of it is that it put my husband and I on the same page as far as behavior management. It helped us be more consistent as parents. It also makes behavior more concrete for the preschool brain. It helps him pay attention to acceptable and unacceptable behaviors (self-award). I’m not saying that we are without an occasional meltdown, but they are fewer than a few months ago and their intensity and duration have shortened (whew!). Eventually, I’m hoping we can fade the chart and still get the positive behavior without the need for a reward.