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My star chart isn't working

10 replies

handlemecarefully · 09/03/2005 10:52

For the past 4 weeks 2.7 year old dd has been demanding to come into our bed in the middle of the night (having never done this before). This is a crappy situation as we don't get much sleep.

Initially we have tried subdued lighting in her room as she is a bit scared of the dark, but this isn't really cutting it.

So since Sunday night we have been trying a star chart. She gets one sticker for every night she stays in her own bed, plus a handful of chocolates the next morning. When she achieves 3 stars she gets a bigger present (new book etc).

She clearly understands the rules, and deeply covets the stickers and chocolate but so far has not earnt any stickers or chocolate - not one. She expresses regret every morning that she isn't entitled to any but understands why this is.

Why isn't this motivating her to change?

I was really hoping to avoid the alternative scenario (calming walking her back to her own room 150 times in the early hours of the morning until she gives in)

OP posts:
Branster · 09/03/2005 11:10

Perhaps try and change the rules for the chart a bit. Is tehre something she really really likes? Say you award her a star sticker per night spent in her own bed. After 3 stars (3 nights as it were) she will get that special something (be it a trip to the park, a trip to the zoo, a special doll she really likes, glitter shakers, whatever it is you promised). Perhaps offering chocolates & stickers at the same time is too much of a reward and choice for her. Also, if she gets to eat cholcolate during teh day anyway, then the incentive might not be that big for her). We used a sticker chart for DD's potty training and she was promised an icecream after 5 stickers. She really likes icecream but hardly ever gets it so it was a big deal for her. However, going to own bed charts might be much harder work than sitting on a potty for such a young child.
have you tried one of those plug in night lights as an alternative? Or if she likes dolls and you were to buy her a new baby doll and explain to her that the doll can only sleep in her own bed with her and not in your bed.

WideWebWitch · 09/03/2005 11:12

Hmc, we had this and a combination of star chart and, I'm afraid taking ds back to his room again and again and again and again and again (you get the idea) cracked it. I think that's what you've got to do tbh. Unless you want her in with you. She will give in, bet it takes less than 3 nights and it'll be so worth it.

handlemecarefully · 09/03/2005 11:15


She loves kid's dvd's. I'll promise her Piglet's Big Adventure and see what that does.

WWW, I was fearful that this might be the case....

OP posts:
lisalisa · 09/03/2005 11:19

Message withdrawn

Branster · 09/03/2005 11:21

Good luck HMC!! Can you get Piglet stickers for the chart to go with the theme?

handlemecarefully · 09/03/2005 11:28

Thanks Branster....

You may be right Lisalisa - what you say makes sense. However despite your logical argument, I am going to try just a little while longer with the star chart before I bin it...just in case it works combination with gently leading her back to bed repeatedly.

I thought I had dealt with what was motivating her to join me - i.e. fear of the dark - by putting subdued lighting in her room...but she keeps on coming!

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Jimjams · 09/03/2005 11:32

I agre with lisalisa that she's a bit young. I think she needs an immediate reward for staying in bed, and an immediate aversive reponse for getting out. Putting her back repeatedly is one way to do it, but would be good to think of something very rewarding for her as soon as she gets into bed.

lisalisa · 09/03/2005 11:58

Message withdrawn

vess · 09/03/2005 20:07

Hi, handlemecarefully, good luck with the starchart! I think you'll have to do exactly what you are tryig to avoid, I know it's hard to get up in the middle of the night, but if she's got into the habit of comming into your bed, and you don't like it, you have to break the habit - by taking her to her room and staying there with her for a while. Let her know that you'll always come to her if she's scared. Not easy, I know, but chances are she'll soon forget about it!

handlemecarefully · 14/03/2005 12:00


Last Wednesday night (4th night of trying) it worked. Dd woke up in her own bed on Thursday a.m. and demanded her sticker and chocolate. Worked again Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night. Went pear shaped last night - woke at midnight and demanded Mummy's bed. Was reminded of star chart but it cut no ice. Patiently escorted her back to bed a dozen times whilst explaining why she couldn't come into our bed (not enough room, noone ends up sleeping properly). She did accept this after half an hour and went to sleep.

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