Guide to using behavior change charts with children

Behavioral psychology offers us a multitude of techniques that we can apply in daily parenting. These can help us teach children certain skills, establish habits, or correct inappropriate behavior. One of the best known are behavior modification tables, some simple tools based on positive reinforcement and offer good results.

Many parents are tired of having to constantly chase their children to fulfill their obligations. From having to threaten, yell and generate fights for the minor to take a bath, do his homework or collect his toys.

This is not only unproductive, but unpleasant for everyone involved. As, using this type of tables can be a good alternative.

What are behavior modification tables?

Behavior modification tables They are based on the behavioral technique called “token economy”.“. According to it, if a behavior is followed by a reinforcer, it will tend to repeat itself and increase in frequency.

Therefore, if we want to establish a habit or change a behavior in the child, we must provide reinforcement whenever the desired behavior occurs.

This is something we already do naturally without realizing it. For example, when we praise or praise our children for an achievement or good attitude. However, with behavior modification tables we do it in a more structured, visual and attractive way.

in these tables the appropriate behaviors we want to promote are reflected and the times when the child complied with them are collected. You can place a sticker or score a series of points each time. Also, after one week, these accumulated stickers or points can be exchanged for rewards or privileges.

In this way, we use a positive approach in education, focusing on reinforcing what we want and not on punishing or scolding for bad behavior. For the little ones, receiving recognition from their parents and seeing it reflected in a graph is a great incentive. Besides, of course, the prizes they can get.

The mother punishes her son.
Punishment doesn’t get good behavioral results, so positive reinforcement is a viable alternative to parenting.

Example of behavior change graphs

Behavior change graphs can be used for many different purposes. For example, it can help us motivate the child to do a task he resists (make the bed every day) or use us to change inappropriate behavior (arguing with your brother).

We can enter several objectives in the table, but it is preferable not to exceed more than 3 at the same time. Especially with younger children. So, this can be an example to use at home.

Homework table for children.

Each day of the week, and for each activity completed, we will place a sticker in the corresponding space on the table. In this way the child will be able to obtain a maximum of 3 stickers per day.

It should be noted that, in this application method, failure to comply with the duties will not result in a sanction or reduction of the score previously accrued. The goal is to reward success and it is up to the child to achieve the goal and whether or not to get the reward.

What to keep in mind when using behavior change graphs

However, for this technique to be effective, it is important to take into account a number of keys:

  • Desirable behaviors must be specified very well, be clear and declare yourself positively. We have to flee from ambiguity, like “to behave”and focus on concrete goals, such as “brush your teeth after dinner. These tables are to be used with those behaviors that are a problem or cost more work, so it is important to select the objectives well.
  • The next step is choosing reinforcements. With the little ones, some stickers with gold stars or smileys can be very effective. In older children it is more interesting to offer a series of points for each completed task.
  • The prizes for which they can be exchanged must be established jointly. those dots or stickers and how it will be done. For example, if your little one gets a sticker every day, at the end of the week she can choose a special dinner, take a trip to the movies or buy a new story. It’s up to each family to select the rewards and the number of points needed to get them, but it’s best if they’re easy to get at first, and once you get used to it, more points are needed for each reward.
  • It is important to offer reinforcement as close to achieving the goal as possible.. Therefore, as soon as the child completes the task, you must go to the table and place the sticker. If we take too long, the reinforcement loses potency.
Conduct chart with stars.
For younger children we can use colored stars or flashy drawings that represent the score.

A family exercise

One of the strengths of behavior modification tables is that they are engaging and fun for children. AS, they don’t see them as an imposition, but as a game. This motivates them to change their behavior in a more pleasant and positive way.

However, it is important to involve the child in the entire process: from designing the board to choosing reinforcements and prizes, up to completing the board every day. It is essential that the strategy is simple and visual (for this, drawings can be added to each objective); that it is easy to understand and that the child understands how it works, what is expected of him and what he can achieve.

If they are made participants in the whole process, if they are taken into account when designing and applying the exercise, you can get great results in just a few weeks. And most importantly, conflicts arising from reproaches, punishments or threats will be avoided.

The post Guide to using behavior modification tables with children first appeared in research-school.

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