Using Sticker Charts with Your Kids

Originally posted elsewhere on February 3, 2011.

We’ve all had something that’s been a struggle with our 3-5 year olds: using the toilet, getting ready for bed, eating healthy foods… I could go on, but you get the idea. You beg, you plead, you may threaten to take things away if they don’t do as you say, but nothing seems to work. This is the time when you may want to consider using a sticker chart.

I’ve written about sticker charts on my blog before. We started using them with TJ at age 3 because he was getting out of bed so early. By offering him stickers as a reward for staying in bed later, we were able to change his behavior so that he wasn’t getting up with the sun every day. Once he got a certain number of stickers on his chart, he knew that we would take him to the store to buy him a $5 toy.

Of course, once your child has corrected his or her “bad habit,” and they’re doing what you’ve been aiming for every day, giving them stickers for the same behavior is no longer helpful. The good news is, at this age, there are so many things we want our kids to learn that you can start using the sticker charts for other helpful behaviors.

TJ's sticker chart

The sticker chart TJ completed last year for trying new foods. He drew it himself!

For the last year or two, we’ve been giving TJ stickers for trying new foods. I can’t blame the poor kid for being picky, because I’m very picky as well. (And I don’t want to be picky, but my sense of taste doesn’t much care what I think.) And Asperger Syndrome doesn’t lend itself to change. But there are foods he used to eat when he was younger that he won’t touch now, and much of his resistance to trying different foods is stubbornness.

The sticker chart has allowed TJ to discover a number of foods that are now his “favorites.” He loves baked ziti, grilled chicken, peanut butter, and our most recent success was hamburgers! Meat and protein are always a struggle for him, so anything we can add to his mealtime rotation is wonderful. His current sticker chart progress is rather ambitious. He decided that he needed to try NINE new foods in order to get a toy from Disney World when we go to the Disney Social Media Moms Conference next month. He has four stickers now, and he needs five more. I’m trying to give him multiple opportunities to earn his stickers, but it can still be a struggle. I’m sure it will be easier once it gets closer to Disney time. (You always want to make sure that the reward is something very desirable for your child!)

Have you had any success with sticker charts? What other forms of behavior modification work well for your child?

Christina Gleason (975 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


  1. Sushi Lover says

    We use a sticker chart for trips to the potty and my 2 year old loves it. I feel better about giving stickers than candy and when she gets enough she earns a day out with Mommy.


  1. […] compensation. It sounded like something I’d want to check out anyways, since we’ve done sticker charts with TJ in the past, so I went for the opportunity. (Don’t worry: even though I am getting […]

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