Finding My Sanity In A DIY Behavior Chart

Since my littlest little’s birth, there’s been a decline in behavior in my older two children. I know the reasoning behind it all but that’s no excuse to let bad behavior slide. I was losing patience quickly and felt like I was losing my sanity. So in looking for ways to stay creative in my parenting, the smiley face behavior chart was created.


We spent our morning making the behavior chart to hang on our fridge. For my kids, if they are involved in things then they are much more receptive to it. Ex: helping cook a dish they wouldn’t normally touch but if they stir the pot then they’ll eat it. So I made sure they were super involved in every step of the creation. We got out scissors, construction paper, and tape (keep reading to find out exactly what you need to make your own behavior chart). I let them pick the smiley/sad faces they wanted to use off Google images. We talked about how the chart works – the rewards system if they stay on green and the consequences if they get to red.


For my kids, taking away their tablets is just THE. WORST. THING. EVER! On an average day, they get their tablets after nap time to do an ABC Mouse lesson then once the lesson is completed, they can do a bit of (monitored) YouTube surfing. So the consequence for moving their clips to yellow is that they aren’t allowed to play tablets at all that day. The first time a clip was moved to yellow was an eye opener for my kids! Tears were shed and they learned mama wasn’t playing and that this chart was the real deal.


I decided to make the reward for staying on green elaborate. With struggling in trying to create a new norm with a newborn and my two toddlers acting out with the added behavior issues, it was much more than I could handle; so I needed this system to work and quickly! Each day that my kids stay on green, they get money. At the end of the week, they get to choose whatever they want to do with their money. Be that eating at their favorite restaurant, buying a toy, or going to a fun place. The first week my daughter had been eyeing a plush puppy at the Children’s Museum gift shop that she wanted to buy. My son wanted to go get the good chocolate ice cream with lots of sprinkles and whipped cream (verbatim haha). I think with this system it is important to have a goal or “end game” so to speak. With frequent reminders of what they got if they stayed on green was so helpful. And if bribery isn’t your parenting style, no judgment here either way. Just do what works for you! The behavior chart is tweak-able.

Does it work? 

It’s been a few weeks since the behavior chart has been implemented and I’ve seen change. Small change but change is change and I’ll take it! They’ve been more hesitant with the sibling rivalry and bickering (that drives me CRAZY) and with just a threaten of “clip moving” their actions shift for the better! I’m hoping this smiley face behavior chart will continue be an incentive for the right behavior and maybe, just maybe, some sanity will come back to this mama.

Recipe for your very own Behavior Chart 


  • Red, yellow, and green construction paper
  • Sad face image downloaded from Google images
  • Worried face image downloaded from Google images
  • Happy face image downloaded from Google images
  • Printer
  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Clothespins
  • Copy paper for photo


Print out the downloaded sad face on the red construction paper, the worried face on the yellow construction paper, and the happy face on the green construction paper. Cut out all three faces and glue them together overlapping a bit in the back.

I also put some heavy duty tape on the back for extra security. Flip it all over once it dries and add magnets to hang it on the fridge.

I took a picture of each kid with my iPhone, emailed the pictures to myself, opened the email on my laptop and printed the pictures out on regular copy paper. Glue the cut out faces on clothes pins.

Clip the faces to the smiley chart and hang on fridge!

And voila-

behavior chart done!


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