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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Behavior Chips

As children grow and change, your way of dealing with behavior problems has to change too.  Time out works for toddlers and preschoolers but it isn't effective for children once they reach school age.  Probably the most effective method we came up with was what we called Behavior Chips.  These chips were nothing more than white poker chips.  Each child had a small bowl of ten chips.  The goal was to see how many chips they could maintain throughout the day.  Chips were taken away for various misbehavior, like hitting, back-talking, lying, teasing, whatever.  If someone got below five chips, they usually were given an early dinner and early bedtime.  And, we tried to do something special for the kids who still had nine or ten chips at the end of the day.

Someone once asked why I didn't just give chips for good behavior.  Well, the idea was that we start each new day perfect.  Each day is a fresh beginning, no matter how bad the previous day was.  So, we start out with a perfect number of chips and go from there.

Occasionally, we played around with the idea of using the red and blue chips to reward various good behavior but that seemed to complicate things.   Like most things, the easier something is, the more likely it is to be successful. 

Although it was a simple idea, the kids responded to it and it provided a visual reminder to them of how they were doing throughout the day.  Not bad for a few poker chips  :)


  1. I remember there were a few kids who ended up the day with 21 chips (10 white, 10 red, 1 blue)...and some who ended out with negative chips too...