New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Parents of ADHD Toddlers, Preschoolers

Newly Diagnosed, Behavior Chart Help?

My 4 yr old was recently diagnosed with ADHD and possibly ODD (waiting on the psych eval to confirm ODD). School is not much of a problem but we are having so many behavioral problems at home. We are on a wait list to begin behavioral therapy at a childrens specialized hospital around here, so until then I am trying to do what I can to get him on the right track. We have been doing star charts on and off for about 2 yrs and he still seems like he isn’t getting it. We have 2 daily routine lists, one morning routine, one nightly routine, that he must complete (without putting up a fight) in order to get stars. He also gets stars for extra good behavior. He also loses stars if he breaks one of the House Rules we have posted on the refrigerator. He obviously LOVES getting stars and enjoys following the lists, but if he does something that warrants the removal of a star, he has a complete meltdown. For example, “put on jacket” is the last thing on his morning routine before we leave. I told him once he completed that task he would get a star. He refused to do it and then cried for 2 hours that i didnt give him a star. No matter how much I explain to him that good behavior gets you stars and bad behavior loses stars, he doesn’t seem to get it. Has anyone else had this problem with understanding consequences?? Am I going about this star chart wrong??


My son’s therapist recommends that you not use your reward chart for consequences. It is heartbreaking for your child to work hard for the stars and then have them so easily taken away. He likely feels defeated. My suggestion is to have a different consequence. Also, make sure the star chart allows him to earn rewards frequently. Kids with ADHD need more immediate rewards as their brain is in the here and now.

I hope that helps!

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:17pm

Thanks so much for the advice! The star chart only has 10 spots but I think I will change it to 5. And it just seemed like for him the threat of losing stars was more motivation than actually earning them. But I know now that losing stars isn’t the right way to go about it so I will have to change that as well!

Posted by cad0913 on Nov 13, 2013 at 11:07pm

I tried the sticker chart with my 5 year old, but it didn’t have much of an effect on him. What I had to start doing was really gushing over anything he did correctly (no matter how small it might be). I’ve noticed that my DS thrives on words of affirmation.

Posted by poetrydiva on Dec 18, 2014 at 4:15am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions