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ABC Behavior Chart Ideas for Parents

Instructor: Cara Randle

Cara has a Master's in Teacher Leadership as well as a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. She has taught on the Elementary and Pre-k level for 5 years.

In this lesson, you'll learn what an ABC chart is, how it is used, and how it can help, along with some ideas to create your own. This lesson also includes information about pre-made charts and whether or not they're a good option for parents.

ABC Behavior Charts

Sometimes our children engage in behaviors that can be troublesome or worrisome. An ABC chart can help a parent or teacher to see what is triggering the behavior, if certain triggers result in certain behaviors, and the outcomes of the behaviors.

In an ABC chart, the A represents the antecedent, or what happens immediately before a difficult behavior. The B represents the behavior itself, and the C represents the consequence, or what happens immediately afterwards, such as the adult or peer response to the event.

ABC behavior charts can also be used to promote positive behavior, or to identify behavioral triggers displayed by children with disabilities, such as autism. The chart itself simply helps to lay out what happened, what triggered the behavior, and what it resulted in or achieved.

Ideas For Your Own Chart

Key Components

To create your own chart, you can draw one or use a computer program. There are certain components you should include in your chart to make it useful and accurate. For example, you should include the date, time, and location that the behavior occurred. These three components can help you identify any patterns in the times and areas that behaviors occur.

Section Sizes

The A, B, and C sections of your chart should have enough room for you to write notes. Make sure the spaces are large enough so that you'll be able to read your notes later. You may also want to include an area that shows how long the behavior lasted as well as the severity of the behavior. While not always needed, these two sections may be helpful, depending on your unique situation.

Pre-Made Charts

While making your own chart allows you to customize it according to your needs, pre-made ABC charts are available online and range in complexity, from the very basic to very complicated. Be sure to look over the chart to make sure it can be used for your situation. Many of these charts are meant for classroom use but can be used at home. They include those based on questions or check boxes, as described below.

Pre-Made Chart with Questions

Some pre-made charts include guiding questions for the A, B, and C sections, such as:

  • Section A (antecedent)
    • Where were you and the student?
    • What was he/she doing before the behavior?
    • What were you doing/saying before the behavior?
  • Section B (behavior)
    • What did he/she do?
    • What did he/she say?
  • Section C (consequence)
    • What did you do?
    • What did you say?
    • What did classmates do/say?

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