Behavior modification programs that are based on encouraging and supporting positive behaviors rather than punishing undesired behaviors have been shown to be effective for children with ADHD. In several posts, we talk about how to set up this type of program in your own house:
The following behavior charts can help you keep track of your child’s behavior.
Use this chart to focus on a single behavior. It might be completing homework, not hitting siblings, finishing chores, not talking back or whatever behavior you are looking to correct. Write the desired behavior in the blank space. Use stickers or draw a star in the box each day your child exhibits the desired behavior. Rewards should be based on weekly totals as well as monthly.
This chart focuses on several different behaviors. Please note that when you first begin working with your child using charts with rewards and consequences you should focus on a single behavior at a time, however, as your child understands the process, you can begin working on a few different behaviors. Older children and teens may also have the maturity to work on several different behaviors at one time. Ideas of behaviors to work on include not talking back, no hitting, getting along with siblings, completing homework, doing chores or doing as told without being asked twice. Place stickers or stars each day your child acts appropriately and use the reward chart to show what he can “buy” at the end of the week with the points he earns.
List the chores your child is responsible for on the following table. Next to each chore write the number of “points” your child will earn for completing the chore each day. For example, your child might be responsible for making his bed each morning before school and earn 1 point each day that it is completed. Under chore, write “make bed” and each day it is done, put a star for that day. At the end of the week, count up the stars and write down how many points he earned that week.
Write down several possible rewards your child can earn by getting points for completing chores, acting appropriately or completing (and handing in) homework. Assign each reward a point value. After earning points, your child can “buy” the reward. Suggestions for rewards include: renting a movie, having a friend spend the night, going out for ice cream, choosing what is for dinner. While rewards do not need to be material items, such as toys, you can also include these items if you choose.
This chart is to help you, as parents, keep track of your child’s progress. As you keep track of how many points your child earns each day, over several weeks, you can look for patterns or adjust your expectations to help your child succeed.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.