“Mama, you are not making good choices today.” Said my preschooler in a very concerned voice.
“You would not earn a letter on the chart today” she concluded.
I stopped in my tacks.
I took a deep breath.
She was right.
I’d been snappish, I’d raised my voice a few too many times and I’d been grouchy all day.
Working from home with a young child around all day is HARD.
Working from home full-time isn’t new for me, but my daughter was always at preschool.
So what’s a working mom to do when everyone is at home 24/7?
One of the best pieces of mom advice I received when my daughter was young was to “find her currency.”
A kid’s currency is the reward that actually works when trying to modify their behavior or teach them something like potty training.
Once I found that M&M and TV motivated my daughter things got a lot easier around our house. For the most part.
I love this parenting method.
You probably do too.
Actually, I’m pretty sure every mom loves it!
But as much as my daughter loves M&Ms and TV, they don’t work for everything.
So, like most mom’s, I’ve tried a few other behavior modification tactics as well.
Along the way discovered as much about myself as I did about my daughter.
I don’t know about you, but I am NOT good at remembering to put stickers on a behavior chart.
Or a potty training chart.
Or even a cute chore chart.
Days would go by without me adding a sicker for her good behavior, when she put her toys away or even back in the day when the poop went in the potty. (TMI?)
So much for consistency in parenting, huh?
The ABC Behavior Chart
Then one day a friend told me about ABC Behavior Method.
Some brilliant pre-school teacher somewhere realized you could combine alphabet fridge magnets and behavior charts.
- No need to find a special place to hang a behavior chart.
- No need to buy special stickers for a chore chart.
All you have to do is make or print out a free alphabet worksheet like this one and hang it on your fridge.
Then use alphabet magnets to reward good behavoir or to motivate a good choice.
We use these Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wooden Alphabet
When your child needs a little encouragement to make a good choice or congratulations on doing something well reward them with a letter.
1. Let them pick a letter to add to the ABC chart.
2. Have them tell you what the letter is.
3. When they complete the alphabet, they earn a prize.
In addition to modifying behavior the ABC behavior chart method is also a great teachable moment.
Your child has to figure out what letter they picked AND add it to the right place in the alphabet.
We use the lower-case letters and my daughter has to place it on its matching upper cause counterpart.
Mom Behavior Chart
At this point you might be wondering what all that has to do with a Mom Behavior chart.
At the start of this article I shared that my daughter was rightly concerned that I wasn’t making good choices that day.
Before she was done with our talk she looked me in the eye and told me
“Mama you need needed a behavior chart.”
“If you make better choices, if you choose to be kind you can earn a prize Mama.”
“Mama you can get your own LOL Doll!”
What’s a Mama to do at that point but concede?
I hugged my sweet innocent little girl and told her she was right.
Mama needed a behavior chart too.
I printed myself out this worksheet of numbers 1-10 to make my Mom Behavior Chart.
And used the number magnets we already had. If you don’t numbers magnets these Melissa & Doug Wooden Number Magnets would work great.
Behavior Chart for Mom in Action
That evening at dinner my daughter announced that I had done a much better job of not yelling at her and that I earned my first number.
She proudly got up from the kitchen table, found the 1 magnet and placed it on my chart.
Then she gave me a hug and kiss.
I knew I’d been losing my cool a lot that day but I hadn’t realized how much it was bothering her.
One of my favorite parts about a Mama’s behavior chart is that your child is rewarding you!
Children learn from watching us and modeling our actions.
When there is a behavior chart for Mom, our children are validating our good actions with a reward.
A few days later my daughter told me I could have an extra number on my chart if gave her a lollipop.
I gave her a point for creativity but not a lollipop!
I’ve seen some really cute Mom Chore Charts and Mommy Behavior Charts online that include daily hugs and daily words of kindness among other things.
I’ve chosen to simplify the behavior chart process to something my family can follow through with.
Something we can be inconsistently consistent with.
Modifying a child’s behavior though rewards has been proven time and again to work.
Using a simple ABC chart and ABC magnets (that you probably already have) gives your child a big prize to look forward to when they reach the end of the alphabet.
Adding a Mom behavior chart helps to reinforce the good choices, kindness and chore completing that we all work so hard to teach our children.
And for those seasons in life that are more difficult, being kept in check by the little person in your house is a good reminder that they are always watching.
They are watching everything we do.
The only reward I needed when I got to 10 on my Mama Behavior Chart was the hug of excitement from my daughter.
But she insisted I should have a real prize.
So…I picked lollipops for both of us.
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