If there is any one aspect of parenthood that I would consider most challenging for the masses it is discipline. The behavior of a child greatly depends on how that child is disciplined. A child who is not properly or rarely disciplined will not behave as well as a child who is properly and consistently disciplined. Behavior and discipline go hand in hand.
There are two extremes when it comes to behavior. Acceptable, which is any positive behavior, and not acceptable which is a behavior that is not okay. Generally, most children display more acceptable behaviors than not. Sometimes though you’ll find a child who acts unacceptably more often than not. This all goes back to depending on how the child is disciplined.
In order for us a parents to properly discipline our children we need to track their behavior. Parents do this by remember past behaviors and comparing them to present ones. When parents do this they are able to look and see if their method of discipline is working of if it needs adjustment.
A behavior chart is a way for parents to track their child’s behaviors. It is also a way to track the discipline they are using. Say a parent uses time outs as their main source of discipline, along with verbal instruction and communication. Say they do this each time a household rule is broken. That parent could keep better track of the rules that are broken, how often, and how their discipline is affecting rule breaking by using a behavior chart.
A behavior chart covers the span of one week. A new chart is to be used each week, the old one kept for observation purposes each week. At the end of week two parents can compare the first weeks chart to the second weeks chart. Progress if any will be apparent. It will also be obvious if discipline is not working. You can then adjust your discipline approach and compare your new approach to the old one. See? Much can be learned from recorded data!
One chart can be made for a family of children. All you’ll need is a piece of lined paper and a pen or marker. Simply write a list of your children’s names going down the left hand side of the paper. Like a grocery list. Draw a solid line down on the right of the names until you’re line reaches the bottom of the line that the last name is on. Where that line ends begin a line across the width of the paper. Make a line parallel to that one above the names. Enclose each side with a line. You’ll basically have a rectangle with a list of names on the left of the line on the left side. Now, draw six lines vertically to divide the rectangle into seven rows. Space them evenly. Above that top horizontal line, above each row, write the names of the days of the week, beginning with Sunday. Now, each of your children will have their own line for the week. It will go horizontally, day by day. Above the name of the day write in the date for each day including the month. 5/22 for example.
Place the chart next to your list of household rules. They should both be in plain view, in a commonly looked at place such as the refrigerator. This chart needs to be used with a list of household rules. Number your rules. Usually there are about five rules.
Say rule number five is no running in the house and your child just broke it. Place a little checkmark with a five next to it on the chart for the appropriate child and day. Say as the day goes on that child also breaks rules numbers one and two. Place a checkmark on the chart for each rule broken with the rule number beside it.
The type of discipline you use should remain the same for each rule broken. Every rule that gets broken should be disciplined and recorded on the chart. The checkmark is for discipline, the rule number let’s you record the offense. Over time you’ll be able to see which offenses are most common and how your method of discipline affects them. Tweak your discipline skills to affect the behaviors and watch them disappear off the chart! Reward a child who gets less than three checks per week. Give an incentive. Allowing three mess ups per week lets your child know that they do need to act acceptable and follow rules but that you do not expect them to be absolutely perfect. Kids with pressure to not mess up at all week may end up messing up more because of the pressure. Everyone makes mistakes. Yet if your child can break three or less rules per seven days the mistakes are few and far between. No kid is going to be perfect all week long. We shouldn’t expect that. That’s it! That’s how you do it! Good luck!