The Key to Making Reward Charts Work


The key to success with reward charts

I’m not one for bribing my kids but using incentives are a great way to reward good behavior.

We currently use a sticker chart to help encourage positive behavior in Jude. We’ve been using a sticker chart for about 7 weeks and have seen great success.

The key to his success? Finding his currency.

: something that is in circulation as a medium of exchange

For months we tried using sticker charts with the reward of candy, toys, money… and nothing was working.

Then Jude got sick and we desperately needed him to take his medicine. We tried everything, mixing it with applesauce, giving him a yummy drink or candy afterward but he constantly refused. Nearing frustration, my dad tried to bribe him with money and he still said no. That’s when I realized that twenty dollars means nothing to a 4 year old. So I asked myself, “What is the one thing my child wants more than anything else?


When I told Jude that he if took his medicine he could play a video game with Dada there was NO hesitation, he inhaled the medicine and asked to play his game.

We had found his currency!

So now when Jude earns a select number of stickers he earns the opportunity to play a video game with Dada on Saturday. He works hard to earn his stickers. Occasionally he has a rough week and fails to earn enough stickers to play video games and this is where he learns about consequences. It’s not fun and there is usually a lot of whining involved but we are very clear in explaining that he does NOT get to play a game because he didn’t earn enough stickers. He understands and says he will work extra hard next week to earn enough stickers.


Reward Charts are an excellent tool to encourage positive behavior but only if you’ve found your child’s currency. We struggled for almost 2 years until we found something that really motivated Jude toward good behavior.

Teaching kids that working hard toward a goal will yield a great reward is a lesson that will serve them well all throughout life.



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