Over the last few months, I’ve grown my therapy practice to include a lot more work with children. While some kids in therapy struggle with complex and daunting issues, many simple problems faced by families can be easily modified through the use of behavior charts. Conflicts over things like doing chores or finishing homework can quickly change from a source of stress in the household to a way for children to practice autonomy and gain independence. Here’s a good resource that explains a few different strategies: https://www.verywellfamily.com. I use charts like these with so many of my clients from ages 4 to teens and they work great when they’re well executed; I like how the article gives specific tips and breaks down various styles.
I often dedicate sessions to creating and decorating charts with my clients so that they feel personalized and the youth can take ownership of them. Asking children and their caretakers to identify behaviors together makes the process collaborative and empowering. I find that a key component of the chart’s success is the reward that families identify for a job well done. It’s crucial for parents to consistently follow through with the rewards, and if the youth is struggling to hold up their end of the bargen it is something we can discuss in future therapy sessions.
So whether you’re struggling to get your 5-year-old to clean her room or your 13-year-old to spend more time studying, creating a behavior chart is an excellent resource. If it’s a strategy you’re planning to use, leave a comment below.