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ADHD Behavior Charts

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Whether your child is a preschooler or a high schooler, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present some real behavioral challenges at home and at school. Recent research shows that ADHD behavior charts offer a great resource for parents and teachers working with children who have ADHD.

What Is an ADHD Behavior Chart?

If you’re looking for a way to help your child with ADHD stay focused and on track, an ADHD Behavior Chart can be a valuable tool. Designed specifically for children with ADHD, this chart creates a visual representation that highlights their behavior and progress. By using a chart, you can effectively demonstrate the positive outcomes that result from good behavior.

ADHD behavior charts this image shows two children playing on the bed

The concept is simple: set specific behavioral goals for your child and track their progress on the chart. When they exhibit good behavior, mark it on the chart. Once they accumulate a certain number of positive marks, reward them with something meaningful to them. Then, continue the process by setting new goals and offering subsequent rewards, reinforcing positive behavior along the way.

How To Use the ADHD Behavior Chart

  1. Print out the chart in color. These pictures that you use will help your child stay focused.
  2. Clearly label your child’s reward. It may also help to include a picture of the reward. Be sure to set a goal for the number of stickers required to receive the reward.
  3. For each day of the week, give your child a sticker if they have demonstrated the desired behavior. Provide verbal praise too.
  4. At the end of the week, check whether your child has received the appropriate number of stickers. If they received enough stickers, present the goal.

Charts for Elementary-Aged Children

If your child is elementary-aged, they will still be learning to read so it’s best to keep behavior charts simple. Here are some examples of possible positives you could add to your chart

  • “I finished my homework.”
  • “I waited my turn to talk.”
  • “I controlled my temper.”
  • “I stayed in my seat during school.”
  • “I finished my chores on time.”
ADHD behavior charts this image shows a woman spending time with her grandchildren
Read More: Free Printable ADHD Routine Charts

Charts for Middle and High School Students

Kids at this age can handle more complexity compared to when they were in earlier grade levels. They’re growing up and almost reaching adulthood, which means they are learning how to manage bigger expectations when it comes to their behavior. Because of this, charts don’t necessarily need to have pictures anymore.

Here are some examples of things you could add to your chart for teenaged children

  • “I followed instructions today.”
  • “I was organized.”
  • “I finished my homework.”
  • “I raised my hand to talk in class.”
  • “I got to class on time.”
  • “I controlled my temper.”
  • “I finished my chores at home.”

Things To Keep in Mind

When using behavior charts with kids who have ADHD, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it simple. A chart that is too wordy may be difficult for your child to follow.
  • Decide on a reward. Choose a reward that is motivating.
  • Keep it positive. For the greatest success, the goals on the behavior chart need to be phrased in a positive manner. Stay way from words like “doesn’t” or “not.”
  • Be consistent. Consistency is the key to the success of using behavior charts. If you expect the child to follow through, you need to follow through as well.
  • Expect some push-back. Keep in mind that your child may really test you when you first begin using the behavior charts. However, the positive nature of these charts will soon win out.
  • Keep it age-appropriate. Make sure your expectations are reasonable and that you’re using a chart that’s appropriate for the child’s age.
ADHD behavior charts this image shows a woman and child writing

Effectiveness of Charts

According to research, behavior charts can be a really useful tool when it comes to managing some of the challenging behaviors associated with ADHD. A few studies have even shown that they can help kids stay focused for longer periods of time and reduce disruptive behavior.

  • A study published by the Association for Behavior Analysis International tested the efficacy of behavior charts in managing disruptive activity in ADHD children in four classrooms. The results indicated that the charts offered a significant improvement over traditional behavior modification methods.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, behavior charts can effectively extend the amount of time a child can pay attention in the classroom setting.

Because these charts focus on the positive and are age-appropriate, children feel successful and encouraged. What’s more, controlling challenging behaviors helps ADHD students improve social and family relationships, as well as academic performance.

FAQs About ADHD Behavior Charts

What is an ADHD behavior chart?
An ADHD behavior chart is a tool that can be used to help children with ADHD track and monitor their behaviors. It typically involves a chart with different tasks or behaviors listed, and the child can earn rewards or incentives for meeting certain goals or expectations.

Are behavior charts effective for children with ADHD?
Yes, research has shown that behavior charts can be a helpful tool for managing some of the challenging behaviors associated with ADHD. They can help improve attention span and reduce disruptive behavior.

What kind of behaviors can be tracked on an ADHD behavior chart?
The specific behaviors tracked on an ADHD behavior chart will depend on the individual child's needs and goals. Some common behaviors that might be tracked include completing homework, staying focused during class, or using appropriate social skills.

Can behavior charts be used at home as well as in school?
Yes, behavior charts can be used in any setting where a child with ADHD needs support in managing their behavior. They can be used at home, in school, or even in therapy sessions.

How can parents and teachers create an effective ADHD behavior chart?
When creating an ADHD behavior chart, it's important to involve the child in the process and set achievable goals. Rewards or incentives should be meaningful and appropriate for the child's age and interests. Consistency and positive reinforcement are also key to the success of the behavior chart.

This post was originally published on 08/05/2021. It was updated on 06/13/2023.

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