My youngest son Robo Boy has never been particularly fond of sleeping. We co-slept until he was two and then he moved into a room with his big brother Super Kid. This really helped him settle at night and until recently all was well. Unfortunately in the last few months he had started waking up to three times a night and waking us up.

Since we also have a baby in the house who needs night time parenting we were not getting enough sleep. So I decided to use a reward chart to persuade Robo Boy to stay in bed. I bought a particularly lovely pirate reward chart, but I’m sure with some artistic flair you could create an equally lovely one yourself. Here is how we made the reward chart work for us.

1.We set very clear realistic goals. I told Robo Boy that to earn his star each day he needed to go to bed and stay in bed. I also made it clear that if he woke up or went to the toilet he should not wake us up and go back to bed. If he didn’t do that he didn’t get his star.

2.Follow through. If Robo Boy did not achieve his goal he didn’t get a star. If he doesn’t then he has incentive to try harder next time.

3. When the star is given add lots of verbal praise. “Wow Robo Boy slept really well, he’s done so brilliantly he gets a star”. Children respond really well to praise and encouragement.

4.Give a good incentive to collect stars. We took Robo Boy to the toy shop to choose a small toy after he had filled his star chart. Other ideas are a special activity or treat.

So there you have it. I have had a lot of success with the reward chart. I wouldn’t use it for small goals but if you have a biggie (potty training, eating vegetables) it really does work.

Robo Boy enjoying his reward.