Free Behavior Contracts

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Creating Your Own Behavior Chart

By: Chris Theisen

Behavior Chart

Behavior charts are a simple and effective way for parents to monitor and modify their children's behavior. A well-designed behavior chart can help to eliminate behaviors that most parents find annoying, inappropriate, or just plain problematic.

With just a minimal amount of time and effort, parents can create their own behavior chart -- one that is simple, effective, and FREE! If you are interested in creating your own behavior chart then follow the steps below:

1. Decide what behaviors you would like to address. These could be behaviors that are defiant, hurtful, non-compliant, or simply annoying. Keep in mind, too, that you don't always have to choose negative behaviors that you want your child to stop, but you can also choose positive behaviors that you want him or her to start (such as completing a specific chore, using good manners, or eating healthier foods).

2. Choose about 4 or 5 behaviors that you want your child to work on then write those behaviors down on your chart. Your behavior chart should consist of a "table" that has a left-hand column where you can list the “desired” or “unwanted” behaviors, followed by one column for each day of the week afterwards. The left-hand column should only consist of about five or six rows (four or five rows where you will list the behaviors, plus a row at the bottom where you can write the total number of points that were earned for the day).

3. Decide how many points each behavior is worth. For instance, you might decide that "Be respectful" and "Pick up after yourself" are worth 10 points, while "Make your bed each morning" and "Maintain an inside voice while in the house" might only be worth 5 points. Feel free to make the behaviors worth any amount but make sure they add up to an easy, round number such as 25, 40, 50, or 100, etc.

4. At the end of each day, decide how many points your child has earned for the day with regards to each of his or her designated behaviors. If your child has the possibility of earning 5 points for making her bed but she does a sloppy job of it, then she might only earn 3 or 4 points for that behavior on that particular day. Assign points for each of the remaining behaviors then add them up to get the daily total.

5. Determine your child's success. If your child earned 80% or more of his or her daily points then that should be considered a "successful" day. Anything less than 80% would then be considered an "unsuccessful" day (feel free to adjust these percentages as appropriate for your child, but be careful not to make "success" too difficult for him or her to achieve).

6. In order for the behavior chart to be effective, you must attach good motivators to it. The behavior chart will be more effective if you offer special privileges for "successful" days and specific restrictions for "unsuccessful" days. For instance, if a child has a "successful" day, then maybe she can stay up an extra 30 minutes at bedtime and also earn additional computer time. If she is "unsuccessful" however, then maybe she must do an extra chore and lose valuable computer time. Be sure to choose privileges and restrictions that will work with your child and be sure to allocate them on the following day (the day after they are earned).

Looking for Printable Behavior Charts? If this all sounds a bit too confusing and you would prefer to download a simple and effective prewritten behavior chart then the links below will take you to a few great sites that offer just what you are looking for. You can also print off the free behavior chart offered on the home page of this site. The free behavior chart on this site is very basic and does not include some of the other benefits (or additional downloads) available with the behavior charts offered at the sites below.
An excellent site that offers free behavior contracts and a free behavior chart (both downloadable!) with the purchase of their in-home child discipline program. Their behavior contracts and chart can also be purchased as a separate package.
Download their set of teen-specific behavior contracts and you'll also receive a free teen behavior chart and other teen-related parenting tools. This is one heck of a behavior chart... includes lists of behaviors, responsibilities and character traits for teens to work on, as well as a "privileges and consequences contract" that compliments the behavior chart.
A unique site that offers a variety of downloadable parenting tools…including behavior contracts, behavior charts, worksheets for children and parents, and many other treats! All are available for download at one low price!

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