The Best Free Printable Behavior Charts for Kids
Behavior charts are a wonderful way to help kids manage their behavior and have fun at the same time! Using free printable behavior charts regularly will provide structure for kids, guidance for parents, and a way to define target behaviors.
Are Behavior Charts Effective?
Behavior charts can be useful tools to help kids manage difficult behavior and keep track of chores or daily routines. Keep in mind that all kids don’t respond the same way to a behavior chart. Some kids may find the process frustrating if they don’t achieve the expected behavior. If you find that a chart is not a suitable match for your child, let it go. You can always try again later. You want to set your child up for success, not failure. Most of the time, if you use a behavior chart correctly, children will enjoy the process and feel successful.
To make it fun, have your child help pick out a free printable behavior chart. We have hundreds to choose from and are happy to make up charts with a specific character for free. Then, make a date with your child to pick out special chart markers. These can include markers, pencils, crayons, stickers, or stamps. Not only will you spend some quality time with your child, but you also develop a positive connection to the behavior chart process.
Also, make sure that you maintain realistic goals. Be specific. The younger the child, the more specific the expectation. For example, don’t tell a 4-year-old to, “Clean your room.” Instead, change that behavior to, “Put your pajamas in the hamper.” Or, instead of “Be nice to your sister,” you might say, “Don’t call your sister names.” Even older kids need direction and clarity. If kids become overwhelmed by unclear expectations, they may give up. Again, set kids up for success!
Don’t forget to be consistent. Place your chart in a visible location chosen by you and your child. You can even make a game out of it. Set a timer and have each of you find 3 chart spots before the timer is up. Then pick the best one. Have fun! That’s the key to success. Have a great time engaging in all the steps. Also, try to mark the chart close to the same time every day
Free Printable Behavior Charts for Kids
Be wary of some printable charts online that use inappropriate wording. For example, some charts use wording such as “my reward if I’m good.” We avoid that type of wording on our site. Behavior charts are not about kids being “good” and “bad.” Kids should not feel judged during the charting process. You don’t want your child to feel like he’s a bad kid if he doesn’t succeed with his chart. That will only set him up for failure. Using a behavior chart should be fun. Understand that it’s a bit of trial and error. Be willing to work with the process. If you overload your child with too many expectations initially, slim down, and limit the expectations. If your child wants to move the chart to a new location or pick a new chart, let that happen. Be flexible and positive!
Point systems work great for older kids. We have some behavior charts with point systems. But a point system will overwhelm a young child (age 5-11) and can even overwhelm a preteen. Let your child be your guide.
Use picture charts if your child is younger or needs visual reminders. Don’t expect kids to memorize their behaviors or goals. Charts aren’t an exercise in memorization! The chart should be a point of contact where your child can remind himself of the expected behaviors.
Don’t overwhelm your child with too many behaviors. With younger kids, work on one behavior at a time. Again, adapt the chart to your child’s developmental level.
Rewards for Kids
Rewards don’t have to be materialistic. We have a great page of reward ideas broken into age-appropriate sections. The best rewards are time spent together doing crafts, cooking, playing a game, or watching a movie. Some other ideas include:
*Picking out a dinner or dessert
*Extra screen time
*Playing a game or doing a puzzle together
*Picking from a treasure bag filled with inexpensive treats
*Markers, stickers, or pencils
*Behavior bucks or reward bucks
Daily Routine Charts and Chore Charts
Besides focusing on behaviors, you can also use behavior charts to guide kids with their daily routines, chores, life skills, and hygiene. For chores, you can use one chart per child, one chart for siblings, or one chart for an entire family! Some examples of behaviors in these categories include:
*Practicing good manners
*Using an inside voice
*Listening without interrupting
*Telling the truth
*Assisting with family chores
*Practicing an instrument
*Getting up on time
Take a look at our site, and you’ll find hundreds of behavior charts, chore charts, potty training charts, and many others! Feel free to drop us a line if you need some help using a chart or would like a specific chart made. Our goal is to help you succeed!
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by Joanne McNulty, MS