Behavior Chart Ideas for Home Use

Instructor: Abigail Cook
If you have a child who has difficulty following directions or staying on task, try using a behavior chart! Behavior charts have proven to be effective for a variety of children. Let's look at how you might implement a behavior chart at home.

Behavior Problems at Home

As Natalie prepares breakfast for her children, she can hear her six year old son yelling upstairs. He is throwing a tantrum because he doesn't want to get dressed. When he finally comes downstairs, he is still undressed, can't find his backpack or shoes, and his room is a disaster. Natalie tries to hurry him along by reminding him that he will be late for school. He eats his breakfast slowly, argues with his brothers, and walks out the door to watch the bus drive away. When Natalie finally gets him to school, he is late and has forgotten his homework.

Behavior Charts

If this scenario is familiar to you, it is time to try something different. Many children struggle to stay on task, keep their things organized, and follow directions. Sometimes these children have disorders like autism or a learning disability. Some children due to their age, family circumstances, or their personality also have a hard time sticking to a routine and being compliant. Parents may be able to create positive impact for their children by implementing a behavior chart at home.

Behavior charts are an effective tool for getting children to follow directions because they are so versatile. They can be made to fit individual children with unique needs, interests, and abilities. As you read through this lesson, think about how you might adapt some of these ideas to fit your child.

Target Behaviors

A behavior chart is created for children who have specific behaviors that need to be learned. These behaviors are called target behaviors. As you create a behavior chart in your home, think through the specific routines and behaviors that need improvement. Some routines you might consider addressing could include the morning routine, afternoons, dinner table routines, or bedtime. Target behaviors may correlate with the rules you've set for your kids, or they could make up a checklist for things your child needs to accomplish.

Here are a few ideas of target behaviors for a morning routine:

  • Make bed
  • Change clothes
  • Pick up bedroom
  • Eat breakfast
  • Pack backpack
  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Put shoes and socks on
  • Walk to bus stop

Now consider these ideas for dinner table rules:

  • Use nice words
  • Use an inside voice
  • Eat all your food
  • Stay in your seat until excused
  • Help with dishes


As you implement a behavior chart, you will need to make sure you have a way to reward your child for their good behavior. When they demonstrate a target behavior from their chart, you need to follow up with positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement may be given in the form of praise. You might say 'Thank you for getting your teeth brushed!' or 'I love how you used an inside voice all afternoon!' You may also place a sticker next to the target behavior on their chart. This gives children a visual way to keep track of how they're doing.

When your child gets stickers next to every behavior, they might earn a bigger reward. This reward should be motivating enough to make them want to demonstrate all of the behaviors to get it. It should also be set up ahead of time with your specific child in mind.

Here are some ideas of rewards you might use:

  • Treat
  • Computer time
  • Play date with a friend
  • Play a game with dad
  • Project time
  • Watch a movie

Other Suggestions

In order to make this behavior chart a success, you should consider the following suggestions.

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