Taming the Toddler

Wow! First off I just have to say how happy I am with the response to my first post! It sounds like a lot of people are looking for ways to save money or get back on track financially. I got a ton of private messages with people asking me all sorts of questions and seeking advice. I will definitely revisit the money issue.

This week is about a behaviour chart I made and implemented for my 3-year-old son. This was a child who was an angelic baby, rarely cried, the 2’s were a breeze… then he turned 3 and things started to change drastically. We couldn’t get through basic daily tasks (getting dressed, eating, shoes on, etc.) without major whining or a meltdown. After a few months of nothing else working, my husband and I decided we needed something revolutionary to get him back on track to being the wonderful fun-loving kid we know he is.

I turned to the place where I go for all my needs these days, Pinterest! I did a search for “behavior charts” and began scouring pages until I found something that fit what I was looking for. What I finally decided on was this. Bear in mind that every child is different, and what works for us may not work for you.



Now I can’t take credit for this chart in any way, shape, or form and the lady who came up with it is brilliant, but I will tell you simply how it works and how it has helped our “spirited” child function a bit more calm and reasonable.

Here is a simple breakdown of how the behavior chart works:

1. Your child has 6 coins to start the day (created with your childs input on characters to make it extra fun).



2. When they misbehave, you take a coin. Example: Refusing to get dressed or put shoes on.

3. When they do something good they can earn a coin back. Example: Put their dishes away without being told.

4. If at the end of the day they have all 6 coins they earn a sticker. 10 stickers, ie. 10 days of good behaviour = a treat (determined by your child). We keep the treats under $10, and it has included things like going out for frozen yogurt with the family, a toy of choice from the dollar store, a small Lego set, etc.

5. If at the end of the day they have no coins left, they must face a consequence. In our house this means a day without Lego. For some people a day without TV or screens would be a more effective consequence.

We end the day at the chart -if he has gained a sticker we praise him for his great day and then we count down how many days left until we can earn the next treat. If he doesn’t earn a sticker for the day, we go over some of the reasons why he lost some coins and try to think of better ways he could have dealt with the situations.

Since implementing this chart over a month ago things have been progressively getting easier. Our son is starting to really get it and he truly wants to exhibit good behavior to get the precious sticker at the end of the day.

My favorite part about the chart is how it helps us be better parents. Before it was so easy to use empty threats like “get dressed or _____” and usually we would never really follow through. Now we can remain calm and remind him that if he doesn’t do what he needs to, he will lose a coin. Sometimes he will lose multiple coins in one elevated instance (although this is becoming more and more rare as we go on), but I find it so nice to have a go-to instead of spouting out some crazy-ass consequence in the heat of the moment (I may or may not have threatened to throw all his toys in the garbage once!)

When we are out of the house and we have a behaviour problem I just simply remind him that he will lose a coin if he continues. When we get home I take away or reward coins based on things that happened while we are out.

When my husband gets home from work in the evening, he can look at the chart to see how many coins are on the chart and it gets a dialogue going instantly and we can all talk about our day and what went on. The chart is meant to be based on positive-reinforcement not discipline, which I love.

I won’t say things are perfect, he is still a high-energy 3-year-old boy, but we sure have noticed a change in his behaviour for the better. If you are having problems, why not give something like this a try -what have you got to lose?




-Let your child have all the imput on choosing the coins and let them decorate the chart with stickers and pictures, make it fun!

-Keep it positive, we want to build up our children to begin making good decisions on their own.

-The reward doesn’t have to be expensive, it could even be something free like a family trip to a neat park or a nature house -just something that your child would like, that is a bit out of the norm.

-You may feel silly at first talking to your child about the coins in public, but who cares! If anyone asks, refer them to the original website for reference 🙂

-Read the original website, there is a ton of details that I am leaving out, but I really just wanted to simplify to show how easy it is.

-Use velcro. Our chart is velcroed to the door (makes it easy to rip off to take to a sleepover at grandmas), the bag of stickers is velcroed on, and the coins are velcroed on. There is something about the audible rip of the coin off the chart that really impacts our child and makes him whip into gear pretty quickly!

Supplies List:
Big poster board, or large piece of cardboard
Printer & Paper (for the coins, and any other decorations your child may want)
Cardboard to make coins
Packing tape to cover coins (Or a laminator)
Stickers for rewarding

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave any tips you have for dealing with toddlers and let me know if you try this chart -I would love to hear how it works for someone else 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s