Be A Star Rewards Chart
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- Created by Psychologist, Dr. Susan Lipkins, an Expert seen on OPRAH
- Easy-to-Use Reward Chart for ages 3-12
- Parents Stop Yelling, Kids Start Listening...Immediately!
- Includes dry erase marker, and magic stick stars
- Lightweight and Durable. Can be hung or mounted magnetically.
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A PARENTING TOOL that quickly improves family dynamics. Kids love to use BE A STAR because they instantly see how their efforts and cooperation earn rewards. Successfully used for 25 years!
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Here's how it works at our house. You get stars for some things automatically, like doing your homework gets a star, but for the majority of it we dole them out randomly. For example, the 3 year old behaves well at Costco, we congratulate him in the car and tell him he moved up a star. The 5 year old daughter uses nice words (please/thank you) when we're trying to work with her on it, and she gets a star. It's completely up to us as the parents to reward them, and we do it differently based on what each child is learning. For example, the 9 year old won't get a star for saying thank-you, at his age, it's EXPECTED.
Ok, so from there, we have a system of rewards and consequences, going about every two stars up. Things like staying up late 15 minutes, getting extra dessert, getting 20 minutes more time for video games, are all on the star chart. But, the most important thing is getting up to HAPPY STAR! If you get that, then you get to choose a reward (all rewards are around $1, so hot-wheels are there, a can of soda, some extra candy, whatever). It's not just the reward though, we have a 5 minute celebration.
Let's say my 7 year old got to happy star (they probably get to happy star maybe twice a week if they're working on it): we'll call the family all together, and say this:
"Hey everyone, why are we all here staring at Henry?" "That's right, he got to the HAPPY STAR!". Then we'll do 5 hip hip hoorays for him, then we go around the circle and tell him congratulations while we shake his hands. The kids are always BEAMING with pride, and many times they do it for this little celebration more than anything else. They also love staying up late, getting a treat or a small toy, and feeling like they've really made it.
Of course there is always the dark-side, too. Privileges come with good behavior, but consequences and loss of privileges also comes with poor behavior. So for going DOWN into negative territory, they lose out. For example, they have to go to bed early at -2, they lose all desert/treat privileges at -4, and so on.
The worst, though, is SAD STAR. This is where you go if you hit/bite/punch/or in any way physically hurt another person in the household. You go immediately to sad star, and lose out on everything. In fact, I remember at one point my then 5 year old chose poorly on his birthday and hit a sibling. He was about to lose out on being able to eat his birthday cake that day, and he was traumatized. In fact, he was so worried about it, I ended up making a deal with him. I told him that if he worked his way back up to start, then I'd allow him to trade his loss of privileges for another day. He worked really hard, was extra good, and got to start, so we moved his no-treat and go to bed early and everything else to the next day, and he had a normal birthday.
All my kids know about attrition as well, since at night they know they move down 2 stars just naturally if they are above start. For example, if they go to bed at +3, the next day they start out at +1. If they are negative though, they move all the way up to start the next day, and start fresh. For example, say they are at -6, the next day, they start at start. We've found this to work best to keep things going.
The real key to this is the flexibility in handing out happy stars. Catching behavior quickly, and rewarding immediately, makes a huge difference with motivating little ones (and me as well!). It could be helping out a sibling with going downstairs to put something away because they might be scared of the basement, or using nice words, or saying 'Yes Mom' when she asks them to do something. Whatever it might be, this has worked wonders, and we owe quite a lot to this method.
When I get home, I ask them where they're at on the star-chart every day. When they ask me to go out and do something fun, I ask where they're at. When I need to choose one of the four (soon to be five) kids to blow out the candles after Sunday dinner, I ask who's top of the star-chart list. It has become part of all of our lives, and it's been wonderful.
Another great thing, the wife doesn't have to beat the children when I'm gone at work! That's right, it's not a fight at all to get them to do something. For example, say that you want the 5 year old to wash her hands but she's just being testy and is saying no. My wife doesn't have to fight her and make her, she just says, 'OK, that's your decision, but if you choose this, you will lose a star and there are consequences for that'. Then, she'll lose a star, and keep losing stars until she's at sad star.
Then, when I come home, get this, it's perfect, I don't have to be mad at her either!! I come home, look at the star chart, then call out to my sweet daughter in desperation.. "Honey! Oh my goodness I am so sad, what happened? Why are you at sad star? Oh no, this is horrible, you're going to lose out on eating cookies and I was going to make cookies tonight (actually, wasn't planning on it until I got the text from the wife letting me know of the problems, then I decided to make cookies that night to really stick it to her)!" Then, as she is crying, I give her a hug and let her know how sad we both are, since I was looking forward to eating cookies with her and laughing and having a good time, but we can't because she doesn't have those privileges any more. I promise her I'll save her a cookie, and maybe if she makes good decisions we can do that the next day. And guess what, the next day, no more issues! We get to eat cookies together and no fighting.
The star chart helps be the rule book, but at the same time allows you flexibility in how it is applied, while also allowing you to be on the side of your kids. Yeah, it does suck losing privileges, we'll be sad together, then we can celebrate together when they get happy star.
FANTASTIC way to help shape behavior, and has been wonderful. I can't say enough good things about this happy star system.
My son and I sat down and discussed what the rewards would be, and he got very excited at the prospect of earning them. And I told him what the consequences should be if he lost ten points. I have tried very hard (with mostly success!) not to use any other behavior tools -- we don't do time-outs anymore (unless there is a HUGE breach), and I raise my voice much less than I was before. I simply take points away.
Because my son is very competitive and very into games, he has responded very well to this tool. My one big complaint about it is that because a child has to lose ten points before they face a consequence, it gives them an awful lot of chances to mess up before they are "punished". We have worked around this by taking away multiple points for big offenses. My other complaint is that a child can manipulate the game by purposely doing nice (but maybe not genuine) things just for the purpose of earning points. As another parent said, it's kind of handy that point-earning and point-deducting behaviors are not specifically listed. That way, the parent can make the call about when and how many points are given (or taken away) based on circumstance.
One real upshot of the chart, I have found, is that it really makes you give positive comments more often (positive reinforcement). You realize when you are always taking points away that we can all fall into "nag" mode, where we only point out the bad behavior. This tool, in the interest of helping your child earn points, really does make you stop and give compliments about behavior that is good and behavior that is important to you.
I would strongly recommend this tool for young ones. The physical chart itself is nothing to write home about (it's folded during shipment so doesn't lay straight, not great quality to be honest), but the concept has been hugely helpful in our family.
This "fillable" reward chart is well designed (although it could actually be a bit bigger as the movable stars - especially if you're working with more than one child/star - are too large for the "steps" up and down) and the concept is dead on.
However, come on now - $25!!!!!! It's a very flimsy piece of laminated (I'd guess 100 lb) paper with four also flimsy stars and an erasable marker. At that price, I expected the whole thing to be magnetic. The four small magnets on the back (to affix it to a refrigerator which is my family's choice) barely suffice.
I'm not the type to make something like this on my own, but if you have any talent to do so, I'd suggest you save the $25 . The retail on this shouldn't be more than $7 - 8.