Rewards Chart for 3 Year old...ideas Please!

Updated on May 23, 2012
C.R. asks from Signal Hill, CA
9 answers

Long story but bottom line is I need to start a rewards chart for my 3 year old daughter. I want to reward her for things like staying in her bed all night, good behavior, kind words, helping, getting dressed by herself, and cleaning up. I was thinking about just creating a little chart on the computer and using stickers (we have a ton). But curious on how many stars to get a reward and some ideas for rewards. I am a single mom on a tight budget. My sleep deprivation has caused me to loose my usually creative mind! Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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answers from Cleveland on

I just made one for my little one. It was really simple, basically free, because I used what I had in the house, and has been SUPER effective! All you need is a piece of cardboard, some colored paper, a clothes pin, a couple of cups or jars and some stones, marbles or something like it.

I used three pieces of card stock and used my printer at home. On a green sheet I printed the words "Good" "Great" and "Awesome!" in big bold print (I could only fit these three words per sheet. I think I used like 90 font). On yellow I printed "Good Morning" and "Warning". On blue (I would have used red, but I didn't have any) I printed "Not So Good" "Bad" and "Very Bad". I also printed (on plain white paper) "Katelyn's Behavior". I cut a piece of cardboard out that was the width of the paper and long enough to fit all the words and glued the papers onto the cardboard. From top to bottom it reads "Katelyn's Behavior, Awesome!, Great!, Good, Good Morning, Warning, Not so good, Bad, and Very Bad.

Each morning my daughter puts her pin on "Good Morning". As the day goes on, she has to move her pin up or down depending on her attitude or behavior. Half the time all I have to do say, "Do you want to move to blue?" and she straightens up! If she moves up to "Great!" or "Awesome", she gets to put a stone from the big jar into her little jar. If she finishes the day on Awesome, she gets an additional stone. If she moves down to Bad or Very Bad, she loses a stone. She HATES losing stones! When she gets up to ten stones, she gets a little treat. When she fills her jar up, we're going to Chuck E Cheese!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think you are on the right track, get some poster board, set it up with the some goals, they suggest ( therapists ) about 4 goals to accomplish at that age so make them good ones :)

find some visuals on the computer to put on the poster board so she understands what is expected of her example, a little girl sleeping in her bed , OR you can even take pictures of her doing the things you want her to do and use those.

Like you said set it up with the days of the week and the pictures of the things you want her to accomplish.
everytime she accomplishes naturally put a star in that box for that activity for that day.

Set a goal with her that once she gets" X " amount of stars on the board for the week she gets a treat.

I uses to have a bag of things i knew my kids would like, dollar store stuff, and let them pick what they wanted if they met their goals...

phew that was long winded ..sorry

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We have used a sticker chart since my son turned 4 and it really works nicely. He can earn stickers by doing a variety of good things like trying new foods, staying in his bed all night, wearing sandals, ect. Initially, only start off with a reward after a few stickers and it can be a small reward like a special candy that is usually not allowed. Then you can work your way up to 10 stickers on now in my son's case, 30 stickers. He will be getting 2 cars he really wants. Other good rewards are a bubble gun or since she is a girl, a Polly Pocket or some other small toy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have done "reward" charts with my kids for several behaviors. The first thing is for a three year old, pick ONE thing you want to work on. Having all these items is overwhelming to a three year old.

We just finished a reward chart for "Going to be like a big girl". Generally, I stay away from "stuff", but I was desperate for my daughter to go to bed on her own, so I picked a toy I knew she really wanted....a Pascal stuffed animal ($12 on amazon). In the past with my son we have used garage sale finds, choosing dinner, pick a family movie, special library trips,play outside late if it's not a school night, extra bedtime stories, pick dessert etc.

I made the chart for 30 days. I put a picture of the toy on top of the chart so she knew what she was working for. When we introduced the chart we told her she would get a sticker for every night she went to bed like a big girl. If she got out of bed or fussed or fought, she didn't get a sticker. If she threw a tantrum...she loses a sticker. The first sticker is "free", just to get her excited. In the beginning we have warnings, "Get back in bed or you will not get your sticker tomorrow." But we only do that for two maybe three days. Then when she got out of bed it turned into, "I'm sorry you don't get your sticker tomorrow." We had to do the stickers first thing and make a HUGE deal. Before bed we looked at the chart and talked about what it took to go to bed like a big girl. She only missed out on getting a sticker three days and she did lose a sticker one night for having a melt down. Once she saw that we would take away the stickers, she knew we were serious. She finally earned Pascal two weeks ago and bedtime is still a breeze!

When she is a little older you can work on adding more to the chart. Start with the biggest issue first and work your way down the list. Be consistent. There are lots of things she can earn that won't cost you a penny. Work around her interests.

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answers from Lansing on

Things I have used for a rewards at that age:

a trip to the library
a trip to mcdonalds
an ice cream cone
a pizza picnic (we'd eat on a blanket on the living room floor)

I made a chart and put pictures of the item on it. So I think it was like every 7-10 stickers, sometimes longer. If its too far out they will get bored but if its too close you'll be doing so much. You could always make the bigger goals hard to reach and just do a piece of candy or something similar in between.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I've used them often in home and in my days as an elementary counselor.

Keep it simple. Stick to at MOST 3 tasks. Usually 3 related tasks. And keep it for 5-7 days in a row. I always used stickers because it was fun for the kid to pick the sticker and put it on themselves (the little kids).

It has to be things you can quantify easily. Did you stay in your bed all night (yes= sticker. No= no sticker). Same for getting dressed on her own- either did it or didn't do it. Don't choose anything you sometimes just do yourself because it's easier. My husband put "sets the table" on our 5 year old's most recent chart and it never happens because I always forget to offer her the opportunity. I just do it myseflf because it's easier.

"Kind words" is not as easy to quantify because it doesn't just happen once day, that would be a more spntaneous reward system. I would do something different for that- a jar of M+M's or something and when you catch her saying something nice or using good manners, you point it out and giver her a couple M+m's. That's serious behavioral training though, like if its something you are REALLY working on. I find for most 3 year olds just pointing it out and thanking them for using kind words is good enough encouragement to keep doing it.

What the reward is depends on how long/hard she has to work to earn the thing. Also depends if you are doing day-by-day (each row on the chart is a specific day-MTWTF) then you have to determine the threshhold to get the reward (each day each task completed to get the reward? Or 10/15 squares? Or what)

or general "tally"... once you do X ten times and fill up the chart you earned your prize, whether it took you 10 days or 20 or 30. I usually decide the reward in advance with my daughter. I usually do it the other way and shoot for a threshold .

The most effective was how I did it in elementary school. They had to do X 5 days in a row. One behavior only. One goal. Once they did 5 days in a row they got their reward. We just kept trying again week after week til they got 5 days. Once they got 5 days in a row, next goal was 10 days in a row. and so forth. Starts small and raises the stakes.

Prize doesn't have to be something you buy. It can be somethig like a special meal or dessert, a movie night, Time with mom doing something special, that kinda thing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I got some reward charts from target for $2-3. It also had some stickers and more than enough reward chart pages. The charts themselves are small but my DD doesn't mind. I rewarded her with something small for 5 stars/rewards like a candy or lollypop or a cookie and ice cream on 10 rewards. I mostly used it for her sleeping through the night. It worked for me. But you have to keep re-inventing incentives every few months or they get bored of it. Also make sure you don't give the rewards in between otherwise the charm goes away.



answers from San Francisco on

hi there! i totally understand! i started my daughter at 3 as well, and she's now 10 and it has worked so wonderfully - we're still using it! we just make adjustments once or twice a year.

so i just googled 'reward charts' and found several. i actually bought 3, wound up using only one, and found that i made adjustments to the one that best fit what i needed. we still have the original but can't read the manufacturer, sorry. but what i really i loved was that it had a book of certificates the size of checks that my dd had to sign and redeem for her reward.

i created a color/point system for basic things like behavior, chores, homework, etc. red=5 pts; blue=3; yellow=1. the higher the points the better, so all red stars is the best! she accumulates points all week and on sunday she can either 'bank' them or roll them over to the next week and accrue more points, or turn them in for one of her rewards such as: additional tv time, ice cream, paint her nails, take a bath in my giant tub or sleep in my bed with me, or get some fast food, or the big one - a sleep over! each reward has a different value and it has also taught her how to prioritize.

i hope this helps and please feel free to email me if you'd like more info.

angela :)



answers from Los Angeles on

I just made my own rewards chart on the computer (we only did it for stopping my son from peeing in his pants). After 10 stickers he got a reward. They didn't have to be 10 days in a row - just 10. You can make your own that includes all the chores or activities you want. The rewards depend on what your daughter likes. My son loves books so he would get a book or maybe a little race car or a ball or nerf toy. I actually buy things for him all year when I see things on sale and put them away. Then when I need a "special present" for him, I go to the stash and give him something. I give him some of these items for his birthday and Chanukah too. Good luck!

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