New year! New intentions with Star Charts!
If you’re like me, you need and want to get your kids more involved in their food fare as well as getting excited about the foods they’re eating. With a new year ahead, you and your family can join us as we set intentions to make healthy habits with the help of a star chart. I personally want to get my kids to just try new foods. It doesn’t matter whether they like them but I want them to try. Keep in mind that I eat every kind of food under the sun…from chitlins to kale chips. And my two boys are surely making great strides with new foods at their own pace. However, I’m well aware that my own efforts sometimes get in the way. For example, every Sunday evening I present them options that I’m eager to have them try. But this is just a once-a-week activity…and can be overwhelming for my younger son. Besides, kids like to think they’re calling the shots!
So this past Sunday, the boys and I sat down to create “star charts” to help motivate them to try new foods and to help encourage them to practice self care and/or healthy habits.
I drew the basic foundation and added the three most important behaviors (for my boys at present) and then I gave them space on the charts to add three or four behaviors they wanted to achieve.
So far…so good! As you can see per my older son Bobby’s star chart, he is enthusiastically awaiting his prize for his healthy habits and even my younger son Billy is motivated. He actually tried cod, broccoli, a new yogurt and peanuts in just two days.
On Monday, Billy refused to try a hard-boiled egg as well as his dinner when I failed to ask him for his choice. I quickly realized my mistake and asked him what he would like to try; he willingly ate the new yogurt and peanuts.
As you might have noticed, both boys like to select their own veggies and their own new food to try. This is typical. So don’t forget this step as you create your own star charts with your child. Making the chart with the child and letting them have opportunity to make choice is essential. This is where we give them “control”—the ability to speak in their own voice. Read below on tips for stellar self-care star charting! Join my boys and me. Download our PDF Star Chart to start teaching your child healthy behaviors and to make this process easy and fun for both parent and child. Let us know how it goes.
Tips to Stellar Star Charting:
For creating healthy habits…
1. Parent chooses two to three behaviors.
2. Child chooses two to three behaviors.
3. If the behavior is open ended like trying a new veggie, let each child choose between at least two options.
4. Encourage each child to help decorate and make their own stars so he/she can proudly show off their efforts. Be sure to display – perhaps on the refrigerator.
5. Rewards are most effective when immediate. Young children may benefit from rewards every three days rather than just once a week.
6. Ideally, set the goal at 60 percent stars (success) per day. This allows for flexibility and the option to opt out and not be penalized on days when your child feels overwhelmed, overstimulated and/or just tired. If your child continuously earns all his/her stars, make the behaviors slightly more measurable; try a quarter cup of veggies with dinner or just reset the goal at 90 percent.
7. Have fun and change some of the goals each week. For instance, when your child loses interest in a goal, you can replace it with a new goal like clearing his/her dishes from the table. When a goal becomes a habit, it no longer needs to be reinforced, so just remove it from the chart. You can even change a few goals—maybe two out of six per week to keep your child on his/her toes.
8. And of course, remember not to strive for perfection or just set end goals – rather set goals of trying foods and activities to encourage the process of trying.