Using ADHD Behavior Charts

Using ADHD behavior charts is a way to successfully track good and bad behavior and use rewards and punishment in an organized, structured manner.

Parents of children with ADHD can use charts to clearly see and show the child patterns in his behavior. A successful treatment for many ADHD children is to have a behavior modification plan and track good and bad behaviors on a chart.

ADHD charts can range from homemade color-coded charts posted on the refrigerator to software-designed charts that compute rewards and punishments based on a child's behavior for the week. There are several online resources that offer free downloadable ADHD behavior charts. Parents who want to use ADHD behavior charts should consider what works best for their child and customize their own chart.

How ADHD Behavior Charts Work
To start a child's ADHD behavior chart, a parent must first list behaviors they want the child to improve upon, such as disobeying parents, whining, temper tantrums, hitting or yelling, as well as good behaviors that should be rewarded and encouraged, like doing chores, being kind to a sibling or friend, getting homework done, and getting ready for school on time.

For each day on the chart, the designated behaviors are listed in columns. Whenever the child does one of the positive or negative behaviors, he gets a point or token in the behavior column. A parent may give different weights to different behaviors, so that the child can earn double credits for especially difficult tasks.

At the end of the week, a predetermined reward or punishment is given for the total number of tokens or points.

Benefits of Using ADHD Behavior Charts
ADHD charts allow both parents and children to clearly see how a child's behavior has improved or worsened over a period of time. Sometimes a chart can help a child want to do better, because seeing improvement in stickers, stars or colors can be incentive in itself.

Other benefits of using ADHD behavior charts are:

  • ADHD charts end any disagreement or misinterpretation of overall behavior. The chart itemizes the behaviors.
  • The child feels like he's participating in the plan to improve his behavior.
  • Watching the chart patterns change can build the child's self-esteem.
  • ADHD charts teach a child that good behavior earns them rewards and bad behavior warrants punishment.
  • An ADHD behavior chart help give children a sense of age-appropriate responsibility.
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