I’m fairly sure I’ve overdone it on the star charts over the last few years – I just spotted my six-year-old son making an ‘Eat Your Breakfast All Up’ star chart for the brown fluffy dog that sits next to him at the table.
But star charts are so useful! The kids get a sticker on a home-made chart for good behaviour, as an incentive to do something well, and when the chart is full they get a reward. I try to make it achievable but not too easy, although I don’t always get the balance right … if it’s too easy I haven’t succeeded in making them behave better; if it’s too hard they get bored and demotivated and I still haven’t succeeded in making them behave better.
When I look back, I realise that quite a lot of their young goals have been achieved with the help of a star chart – they seem to like having a positive, clearly defined thing to work towards, and it makes them very happy when the chart is full and they get their reward. Over the last few years we’ve had a ‘Go Back to Sleep Without Your Dummy’ star chart, a ‘Stay at the Table Until Everyone’s Finished Eating’ star chart, a ‘Use the Toilet at School‘ star chart and, most recently, a ‘Put Your Own Shoes On’ star chart.
Star chart overkill? Maybe. But as the days that my kids are excited by a sticker are surely numbered, I’m making the most of it while I can.