Sticker Chart (with Template)

stchar(Note: I added the image to illustrate the difference between the old and new methods. Also, to point out that I did not scrapbook-ify, bedazzle or otherwise Pinterest-icate the charts. They’re functional, not obsessive.)

About the time that AJ started to grasp the ideas of counting and ‘future reward’, we started using sticker charts. They were initially an incentive for using the potty, but were less effective for that than they were for helping with chores and as spontaneous rewards for being “very good”. I came up with the arbitrary number of twenty for a full sticker chart, because I wanted something achievable but not too easily achievable.

My idea when we began was that the kids could trade in their full sticker chart for a reward like ‘going swimming’ or some other ‘special’ with a given adult. They were thinking much smaller, though, and mostly cashed their full charts in for a piece of candy from the reward bucket.

Somewhere in that time period, we started making relatively frequent stops by The Depot and Goodwill, two secondhand stores in Decorah, and the kids always wanted a toy. To discourage the whining and attach a sense of value to their toys, I decided that when they got 20 stickers, they could get one toy from The Depot. The toys at the Depot tend to be extremely reasonably priced, the inventory changes from day to day and sometimes several times a day, and the kids love to go and choose something. So, we have settled on an excellent non-candy, non-bank-breaking reward. An added bonus is that AJ, at least, feels ownership of the toys that he earned with stickers, and remembers which ones he got to choose himself.

Olin likes the idea, but doesn’t really understand that when he wants to trade his sticker chart in for “a garbage truck”, there might not actually be a garbage truck at the secondhand store. For him, I have recently had better luck with buying a package of toy tractors/trucks in his current theme and passing them out one at a time as earned.

Today, Olin cashed in his full chart for a John Deere loader tractor. He loves it, of course, and is obsessively searching for something to load with it. He’s too much of a concrete thinker to just pretend the load. At the moment, he’s pushing the crumbs from a smashed tortilla chip in to a pile.

The need for a new chart is what inspired this post, actually. We have been using just a blnk sheet of printer paper, but Olin and AJ have become very interested in how many stickers they have and how many more until 20, so I made a more organized chart that has the numbers there for them to count along, a blank space for names since two of the three can and should be practicing writing their own names, and takes a quarter of the paper used previously (which saves on both trees and wall space.)

Sticker Chart Template

I’m pleased with it, and Olin says, “It looks like at school!” so I thought I’d share with you as well. This is a PDF version – I made mine very simply in Word 2010. It prints with 0.35 margins (the narrowest my printer will allow) and if you want your child’s name pre-printed on there, it wouldn’t be very hard to add.

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