Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Behavior Reinforcement Charts: A Mom's Best Friend!

Parenting is tough.  Anyone who is a parent - mom or dad - knows this, so I don't need to get into the details about how hard of a time I am having with getting my soon-to-be 6 year old to listen & follow directions.  Because, let's face it, not listening to their parents and getting into trouble is what kids do, right?!  Well... it's what my daughter does, that's for sure.  Over the past few months (it's been too long to really pinpoint the exact time it began) my kiddo has given me the hardest time.  I mean, my already tough single parenting has turned into nearly IMPOSSIBLE parenting, in my opinion.  I have been trying my hardest to keep my cool through all of her talking back, tantrums, unwarranted crying, and overall disobedience; but I'm going to be honest, I've definitely lost my head a few times.  You see, I was under the impression that once the "terrible twos" were over, we'd be in the clear!  Well, clearly, I was soooo wrong!

At my daughter's Kindergarten, her teacher utilizes a Color Behavior Chart to track the students' behavior each day. The colors are:
  • PURPLE - Superb!!!!
  • GREEN - Great Job!
  • YELLOW - Slow Down / Warning
  • RED - Time Out
  • BLUE - Call Home
  • ORANGE - Principal's Office

Every student starts off with Green, and it is up to the student to stay in the green all day.  Misbehaving, or not listening, will cause the student to move down the chart or "get a color change".  The Purple is outstanding behavior, going above and beyond and exceeding all teacher expectations.  Although, we were told that students very rarely receive Purples in her class...  At the end of the week, she sends a paper home notifying the parents of which color their child received each day of the week (and the reason for any color change), and we are to sign it and return it to school the following Monday.  At first, my daughter was getting greens every day! Way to go ILa!  But slowly, one (or even two) days began changing to yellows and then reds, which got me thinking of a way to get her back on track.  

In order to add more weight to the color charting, I decided to add a reward.  If she comes home with all greens on Friday, she can get an ice cream sundae!  And not just any ice cream sundae... I'm talking about the kind that you make yourself - with ALL the fix-ins - chocolate syrup, nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream, cherries - you name it!  Since I've implemented the reward system, she has yet to receive all greens, unfortunately.  This has been going on for over a month! =(.  But, I've noticed that she's been getting pretty upset when she sees any other color than green on her weekly behavior sheet, so I can see that the reward system has definitely made her a bit more serious about listening at school.  That being said, I realized that maybe I should begin implementing the Color Behavior Chart at home as well!!  Why not, right?!  Because it's not okay for her to get all greens at school, and then come home and lose complete control.  There has got to be some consistency here.  

Below is a copy of my version of the Color Behavior Chart, and the rewards/consequences for each color. I decided to start on a Saturday and end on Friday so that my chart would have a little bit more weight.  Notice the Blue and Orange are taking away weekend fun activities, which my daughter really looks forward to.  I figure if misbehaving causes her to miss out on the things she wants the most, then perhaps she'll begin to modify her behavior accordingly.  This chart will be laminated and placed on the refrigerator.  Each day, I will start her with a Green, and as the day progresses, I will change the colors according to her behavior - using a dry erase marker. 

Feel free to use my chart for your own children, if you'd like. Click Here to print a PDF version of my chart or Here to download the Excel version to personalize it!

In addition to the Color Behavior Chart, I have also created a chart to pin point her listening skills.  Since a majority of our problems surround her difficulties in following directions, I figured I should track this behavior separately, in order to prevent major color changes in her behavior chart.  I have purchased star stickers from Dollar Tree and will be sticking them on her chart each day if she does one or both of the following:  Follows directions without arguing, or follows directions quickly (without me having to ask again).  At the end of each calendar week, she will receive a coupon (also purchased from the Dollar Tree) good for one of many things to be determined.  See below for a copy of my chart.

Click Here to print a copy of this chart for personal use.

I am extremely excited about these charts, and hope that they actually help to encourage good behavior in my little one.  She really is an AWESOME little girl.  She's the sweetest, most loving kid I've ever met.  And I know that she genuinely WANTS to behave, but she's having a few difficulties controlling her behavior and emotions - I'm sure she gets some of that from me.  So I will do whatever is necessary to bring out all of the good qualities in her, and to ensure that they are displayed at all times.  I'm currently in the process of finding ways to help her identify and display her emotions appropriately in particular situations, instead of defaulting to screaming & crying.  When I find something that I think will actually work, I'll create a new post about it.



  1. This is great. Thank you for sharing an editable version. I think this chart will help with my prone-to-tantrums little boy.

  2. HELP!!! Everything I do is a fight with my seven year old! We did the sticker chart when he was younger.. If he was good that day and didn;t go to time out he got a sticker, after seven stickers he got a prize. I hope now that he's older and just wants to resist and cry about daily life responsibilities that this chart will help..

  3. You wonderful, wonderful lady. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for, and I didn't even know it. We're having issues with my 5 year old son being very defiant and going back to having toddler-style tantrums. Even when I explain consequences to him and get him to repeat them back to me, he doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions. I think verbal directions aren't enough so I went looking for a chart. I knew he needed a behaviour chart but I wasn't sure what format that should take. Others on the web just kind of all look the same. Your colour chart and the "following directions" chart are right on the mark. Following directions without arguing...would LOVE to see that happen with him lol. Thank you so much for posting these!

  4. Thank you for the printable chart. I will be trying this at home. Both my boys ages 4 and 8 have been very defiant and having trouble in school. Tantrums and being angry. Even though I rake things away. I think this chart will help them actually identify by looking at the chart. More so with my 4year old, my oldest doesn't give me a hard time with following directions at home.

  5. I am so happy that all of you are enjoying these charts!! There will be plenty more to come, as my daughter is now 9 years old and they do not quite help us anymore! haha. Feel free to share these with your friends, and revisit the blog soon for updates!