A Reward Chart Can Improve Your Child’s Sleep
Once the crib rails come down, it’s only a matter of time before your child starts to wander at night. The disruption to everyone’s sleep can be challenging, especially if your child had been sleeping through the night regularly. Reward charts can be an effective way to help encourage your child to stay in their room because they are visual and use positive reinforcement to encourage a desired behaviour. Consider the following tips when using a reward chart to help improve your child’s sleep:
Use the chart regularly until you feel your child no longer needs the encouragement and reminders. Also consider hanging the chart in your child’s room to provide a continuous reminder of the new expectations surrounding their sleep habits.
Customize The Reward Chart
The chart should include those tasks that you are working towards. Tasks can include:
- falling asleep by themselves;
- not calling out at night;
- staying in their bed at night; and
- staying in their room until it’s time to get up.
Select Appropriate Rewards
Include a small reward when you child can accomplish one or more tasks identified on the reward chart. After your child wakes up, let them add stickers for each task that is completed properly. The reward is intended to motivate your child to cooperate, so it’s important that it is immediate and tangible.
Reward Chart Quick Tips:
- Select small rewards that are likely to be an incentive to your child, not extravagant and costly gifts.
- Reward charts work best with children aged 3 and older; however, some children as young as 2.5 are able to understand them.
- Reward charts are also a great way to encourage your child to complete the steps in their bedtime routine, such as having a bath, getting their pajamas on and brushing their teeth.
Rebecca is an infant and child sleep consultant and founder of The Sugar Plum Sleep Co. She is an only child (because she never slept as an infant), a mother of two young boys and an HGTV addict.