WFMW: Reward Charts

My youngest has been struggling with staying in bed at night. She’s five and I thought we were  past “sleep issues.” We’ve tried everything and were really having a hard time getting her to obey. She continued to say she was scared.

I went back and forth between thinking it was a control issue and true fear. We talked about monsters and prayed. We sang songs, talked endlessly and even tried different discipline techniques.  I’m all about letting my kids sneak in my bed when they are sick or struggling, but she was getting exhausted from not going to bed and frankly, so was I. I promised “Jesus is right next to you in bed” and that totally creeped her out. I’m just sayin.

On a whim, I grabbed a piece of paper and some old stickers and drew a quick chart. For every night she stayed in bed until morning, when she woke up she could put a sticker next to the day.

There was something magical about letting her be in charge of her chart. One day we did “half” stickers because she struggled, but then she went five nights in a row.

Each morning she proudly put her sticker in the right spot and counted down to her special surprise.

Today, we celebrated her accomplishment with this treat (her choice) and we’ve got our stickers ready for tonight:

I don’t know if this will work for every child, but it totally works for us!


There’s still time to enter to win on of FIVE copies of the new Works For Me Wednesday E-book: That Works For Me! Enter here.


  1. 1


    LOVE!! I’m all about some charts and stickers. I don’t know WHY I haven’t considered this for my five-year-old who is currently snoring in my bed. GREAT plan!

    And speaking of charts, I had planned to join WFMW for the first time in a while about potty training and charts and well, the AMAZING DISCOVERY I MADE that has helped with my grandson and two other little boys I “Nanny”sit. BUT, I will wait until next week. This will also allow me some time to ensure that this great idea is really working well.

    Thanks for the tip! We’ve had a tremendous struggle with our little one in this same area.

  2. 2


    My three year old gets up sometimes and comes in our room crying that she is afraid of the sensor on the wall. I tell her she is not sleeping with me. I finally covered the motion sensor up last night. She just doesn’t like the light coming on every time she moves. Sticker charts are great for all ages. My old three use them for school.

  3. 4


    We went through this with my daughter…still are to some extent. She is seven now and for YEARS she would not stay in her bed! With one of my sons (15 now), we put a sleeping bag on our floor and he could sleep in the sleeping bag. He only did that a few nights and headed back to his bed…realizing it was much more comfortable!!
    We tried this technique with our daughter and she ended up sleeping on our floor for a year!! She is doing better now and we did do much like you are doing now. After 5 days in her bed we got her a little treat.
    Best wishes that the chart continues to work for you!

  4. 5

    Tracy Tibbels says

    I’m SO glad to have seen this post–thank you! We’re dealing with the same thing in our house–my five-year-old son rarely sleeps alone in his bed. I have to lie with him in his bed to get him to sleep (and then either I fall asleep with him and spend the night, sleeping uncomfortably, in his little one-mattress twin-size bed; or if I do manage to creep into my own bed, he ends up coming into our bed later on anyway), or we end up sleeping together on the couch. I’ll admit, a good part of the problem is that my husband is a very light sleeper and if it’s not us being joined by our son, it’s my snoring keeping him awake.
    Still, I think we’ll try this sticker chart idea!

  5. 6


    That is one happy ice cream cone! :-)
    I’ve linked up two this week: Tips on How to Have a Baby Debt Free, and How to Clean a Ceiling Fan Without ANY Effort. :-)
    Thanks so much for hosting! I love all your tips.

  6. 7


    Thanks for another link party! Today, I’ve linked up a 3 Minute Fudge recipe. It is super tasty and a great way to make homemade fudge. Hope you like it and have a great week!

  7. 8

    Ivy says

    my 4.5 year old is going through this right now. she gets out of bed 2 min after getting tucked in with some excuse or another (too much noise outside her room- she has a fan in there for white noise, she tried and tried and tried and still can’t sleep — after 2 minutes of trying?, etc.) I may have to give this sticker chart a go and see how she does. She didn’t care about sticker charts with the potty training but that was 2 years ago, so maybe she’ll be receptive to it now.

  8. 9


    I love the idea of sticker charts… I can think of quite a few problems we’re having (among our 6 young kiddos) that might be solved with a chart like this! Thanks Kristen!

  9. 10


    We had great success with a sticker chart for toilet training, but when our son was coming into our bed last year (age 6), we found a solution that really worked for us! It’s based on the idea that night wakings usually last just a few minutes, and it helps him get through those few minutes so he goes back to sleep on his own.

  10. 11

    Jenn says

    Glad it’s working for you. Sticker charts worked for all of 2 weeks for us. I’m not sure if it has to do with how close in age my kids are or not. They mostly act like twins and for some reason bed time has been awful. I told Hubs we needed to figure something out soon or someone was going to be going to be taking an all expenses paid ‘vacation’ at the state pen. Now Hubs is making each kid a loft bed. I’m hoping that at least one child will be uncomfortable climbing down the ladder in the dark. I know…it sounds horrible…but I’m truly desperate.

  11. 12


    The chart is a great idea! I think I’ll share it with my friend who is having serious issues keeping her little girl in bed. Nice thinking!

  12. 13


    I pay great attention to how to get kids to sleep, since one of my nephews has a lot of trouble and I’m trying to prevent my daughter from struggling. These children aren’t five yet, but I think we could adapt this idea for younger ones somehow.

  13. 14


    Always a great party with so many ideas on so many different topics. Thanks for hosting. Today I bring Oriental Pasta. This is a nice side dish to serve with Oriental type main dishes. Have a wonderful week.

  14. 16


    I love it when charts work, hate it when they don’t. Stickers on a large piece of paper on the wall worked great for potty training my 2-y-o. Now, at 4, he wants nothing to do with charts. sigh

  15. 17

    fern says

    This brought back such a “good” memory, that I had to share. When my son was about 2 1/2 we had the same issue and I thought I would try the chart. He certainly understood the concept–because during the first night he climbed out of his crib, tore up the chart, and climbed back in the crib! That was about 20 years ago and I am proud to say that it took a while, but he now sleeps through the night!

  16. 18

    Melissa says

    we are in the midst of this same type of reward system! but since we’ve done the stickers before, i needed something new. we just moved and i wanted art for my daughters wall- so i bought a castle scene wall stickers (21 stickers total) and each night she doesnt wake up screaming to come in my bed, she gets a sticker. she is almost done with the pack so i’ve gotta think quick for something new if she goes back to yelling for me in the night.

  17. 19


    Awesome! We used this with our 5 year old who was still having problems properly utilizing the restroom instead of his underpants when he was preoccupied. We made a “turtle path” chart – 14 stones across a river. Pinned it to a tack board and a tack served as the turtle. Everytime he utilized the restroom, we let him move his “turtle” to another stone. When he got to the end, he was able to create and order his own Bionicle online. Worked like a charm, and we haven’t had an incident since!

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