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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Toddler Behavior Chart

Toddler Behavior Chart:

Toddlers learn through exploration, which is fine, except that they like to explore such things as how eggs look when they break on the kitchen floor, or how toothpaste ca be a paint for the bathroom walls. This can become very irritating, and disciplining a toddler isn't the same as disciplining an older child. It isn’t really feasible to restrict them from fun toys, and time-outs aren’t always possible. There is one method that might help your toddler's behavior, and that is to make a toddler behavior chart. If you keep it reasonable, understandable and fun for the child it can be an excellent means of behavior management.

The first step is to make a list of your child's most common problem areas. At this age, the list may be really long, so you will need to pick just a few of these items for your first chart. You will also want to add a couple of things that are fun to him and are easily accomplished on a daily basis, such as brushing his teeth. This way, even on days he may have misbehaved, he can still feel a sense of accomplishment. Since the behavior chart will be more positive than negative (you will be focusing more on what the child accomplishes, rather than what they did wrong), having those accomplishments will help encourage him to try harder in the future. Since a toddler has a very short attention span, you will want to pick only ten items or less for the chart. Out of those ten, about half should be fun rules.

The next step is to gather all the materials. You will need poster board and markers, and pictures or drawings of the items you will be working on. If brushing teeth is an item on the chart, put a magazine cutout of a child brushing her teeth, or a drawing of a toothbrush. It has to be recognizable to your toddler, and it is a good idea to let your child help throughout this process. Let them search through magazines with you, and let them glue pictures on the chart. Getting to help put the chart together will make it something fun, which will help when the time arrives to start following it.

Since the chart will be focusing on good behavior, you will mark the chart for following the rules, or accomplishing the tasks, listed. How you mark the chart should also be fun for the child. Focus on something the child loves, and you can use stickers or stamps of that (for example, a certain cartoon character or animal). Your child will want as many stickers or stamps of that animal as possible, which will help him try harder. You should also let your child help mark the chart each time.

When you begin to implement the chart in daily activities, you will need to have a reward for the good behavior. It can be a small daily reward, such as a piece of candy or watching a favorite cartoon, or a weekly reward. Some good ideas are a toy she has been wanting, or a trip to somewhere that she loves to go, such as the zoo. It will need to be discussed in advance what your child is working toward, and remind him often (remember, toddler's attention spans are very short, so if you don't remind him, he will not remember). It is important to stick to the chart by always marking achievements, and leaving blank any broken rules.
While it is important to stick to it, expecting a child of this age to complete each item every day is unreasonable, so you should be somewhat lenient. If they have seven items on their chart, make the rule that they accomplish five each day. If they do more than that, give a bonus reward. If your chart is weekly, make an extra row at the bottom for a daily overview. You should have a different set of stickers or stamps for the daily allotment, such as a smiley face or stars. If they did at least the correct amount for that day, you should stamp in that row. Having a different stamp at the bottom will help them see that it is a big deal that they were well-behaved all day. Then, at the end of the week, count the bottom row with your child. Five days out of seven is a big deal, and should earn the reward.

By involving your child and making it a fun experience, a behavior chart can make following rules seem enjoyable. Once your child has used the chart for long enough that they are beginning to have behavior problems in different areas, you can make a new chart focusing on those problems.

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