This was a requested post following the post discussing the 18 month sleep regression (why it happens and what to do). I just want to take a minute to outline how we are using the sticker chart, because it has been extremely effective!
We’ve been using the sticker chart for 22 days now. Caroline has gotten 19 stickers! That is a huge success in my book, and is a dramatic change from where she would have been prior to using this method. There are so many ways to use sticker charts. In this post, I’ll just outline the specifics of what we’ve done.
The “problem” we are addressing: Caroline was suddenly delaying bedtime. She was calling for us over and over and over again. She’d claim to have to go potty, but then just socialize. She’d scream and cry when we left the room. She woke up a few nights calling for us at around 2 am as well.
How to earn a sticker: If Caroline goes to bed “like a big girl”, she gets a sticker in the morning. We
have described to her that big girls lay down in their beds, closer their eyes, and quietly go to sleep.
If she calls out for us, and truly needs something, this does not impact if she gets a sticker or not. For example, if she calls us and says she has to go potty, then actually goes potty, she is still well on her way to earning a sticker. So technically, she could get up 20 times and go potty each time, and we’d still give her a sticker.
If she calls out for us, and doesn’t really need anything, she does not earn a sticker the next day.
How we involve her: We remind Caroline every night that if she goes to bed like a big girl, she’ll get a sticker in the morning! We are focusing on telling her about the positive behavior only- what we want her to do.
Giving the sticker: In the morning, if she earned a sticker, I sit down with her and explain how proud I am of her specific actions. She then gets to place a sticker on the calendar day!
If she did not earn a sticker, I simply don’t bring it up. I am focusing on positive behavior with her, and not dwelling on the bad. I also don’t want to start her morning with her feeling disappointed.
If she did not earn a sticker, but she asks for her sticker, we then talk about why she didn’t earn the sticker.
Other things we are doing in conjunction: In the 18 month sleep regression post, I discuss these in further detail. At the same time that we started the sticker chart, we also started using an ok to wake clock. Since using the potty is her way of delaying bed at times, we also added in one last potty time before she gets her pull-up on for the night. Her bedtime routine is: clock turns blue, clean up room, potty, brush teeth, read story, potty, change in to pull-up. She’s been very effective at going if she needs to.