In Montessori pedagogy, we always invite the parent or the educator to underline the positive behaviors and the successes of the child. But sometimes, no matter how much we say or do what we want, everything does not go in the desired direction. So how can our child finally share his toys or stop sulking systematically at each failure? And if one of the solutions was in the Montessori behavior chart ? Also called a motivation board, it is an easy-to-set-up tool for reinforce positive behaviors and encourage children to achieve their daily goals. The goal is to build self-esteem and give the child a way to better visualize and understand what is expected of him. Now let’s see concretely how to use a montessori behavior chart.
What is a Montessori behavior chart?
To begin, we will discuss what exactly is a Montessori behavior chart. But above all, know that it is not strictly speaking a tool from pedagogy as it was described by Maria Montessori at the beginning of the 20th century.
The behavior chart is a slightly more contemporary medium, which can be reminiscent of the good points system or images of yesteryear. However, there is no question of rewarding good grades or even schoolwork in general.
Concretely, it is generally a double-entry table which shows the objectives to be achieved for the child according to the days of the week. It is completed gradually with stickers or colored dots, when the expected behaviors are achieved or tasks are performed. We primarily aim to encourage positive change in know-how and good manners of the youngest.
What is the purpose of a behavior chart?
The goal is that children improve their behavior and are motivated to do soespecially if encouraging words are not enough or if they need to gain confidence.
In this table, we place on one side symbols or simple images that represent what is to be accomplished for the child. On the other hand, you indicate the days of the week or the times of the day, depending on your age and your perception of time.
We can include objectives such as: sharing toys with brothers and sisters, remaining seated during the meal, accepting to lose at a board game, etc. For the motivation charts, you can also plan tasks to accomplish such as brushing your teeth or dressing independently.
It is necessary plan goals within reach of the child. No need to aim for perfect self-control and anger control at 4 years old. This tool must therefore evolve according to the age and the steps already taken by the child.
Should you use a Montessori behavior chart for the day or for the week?
Depending on the age of the child, the Montessori behavior chart is used in different ways. From 3 years old, betteryou plan a table for the day first, because the week is too long and abstract. We can then cut the day into 2 or 3 parts (morning, afternoon or morning, noon, afternoon for example).
Concerning the installation of the behavior board, the whole thing is that the support is visible and accessible for the child.
To encourage him to refer to it as much as possible, he must have the opportunity to stick stickers or tick the boxes himself when he manages to achieve the targeted behaviors.
So place the board as much as possible at its height and make the boxes big enough. If you have several children, provide support for each.
How to use a daily behavior chart?
We will place an element (sticker or stamp for example) each time an objective has been achieved during the day or during the week. However, avoid marking with a red dot or sticking an angry smiley when a goal is not achieved. It is much more encouraging to reinforce the positive rather than mark the negative.
Every week or every day, we observe together the successes and we verbalize clearly the expected objectives for the future. We can say something like “This morning you managed to play with your brother without throwing anything or shouting! Tomorrow, it would be great to manage to tidy up after playing. “.
On the other hand, there is no need to overdo it with a shower of bravos and compliments. In Montessori, we recommend being enthusiastic while remaining factual. Your child should be happy to achieve goals for themselves and not chase after praise.
Which behavior chart to choose?
Does your toddler love toy cars, dinosaurs or princesses? You can make a Montessori behavior chart together by choosing a theme he likes. However, be careful about the readability of the table. Also keep in mind that this support must above all maintain an educational character.
For example, you can decorate the frame around the painting only and thus avoid an overload of unnecessary decorative effects.
To stay in theMontessori spiritthink “Less is more”, in other words, it is best not to overdo it in terms of colors and patterns.
Of course, you can also print a ready-made table, there are many models of it on the Internet, especially on the modeling head website.
What reward should be provided to reinforce positive behavior?
In addition to the satisfaction of seeing the behavior table fill up, it may be interesting to provide rewards to reinforce certain positive attitudes. Be careful, we are not talking here about giving a reward for each filled box. Otherwise we would approach a form of blackmail or haggling.
The idea would rather be to mark the occasion for specific objectives. For example, if your child knows how to dress himself perfectly, but he continues to ask for your help, give him an achievable goal such as doing it independently 4 days out of 5.
Instead of providing a gift or over-the-top candy, instead reward it with an activity to do together or an outing. No need to aim for the amusement park! Often the prospect of cooking together, participating in a creative activity or planning a simple bike ride is enough to reinforce positive behaviors.
Is the behavior chart essential in Montessori pedagogy?
The behavior chart is not essential if you want to draw inspiration from Montessori pedagogy to educate your child.
It is a transitional tool that may or may not be used depending on your family’s needs. The stickers and the rewards should not be carrots nor an end, but rather a help to initiate a change.
We can just as well use a Montessori behavior chart at a specific timefor the acquisition of politeness for example, only for several months to help curb unacceptable attitudes.
The objective is to achieve a lasting improvement in certain behaviors and that in the long term the board will no longer be necessary. Of course, nothing prevents you from continuing the outings and activities that once served as rewards!