positive parenting: getting your little ones to listen (specifically those 4 year olds!!) with the good deed card!

Anyone else feeling the stress of a 4-5 year old? They’re kinda something else, aren’t they??

My little man does fantastic with positive reinforcement and rewards systems (what kid doesn’t, really?) but he gets easily bored after several weeks so I’m constantly having to change it up. But as long as the rewards are immediate he’s usually responsive to whatever rewards system we use. And since 4 year olds are easily amused, the rewards can be as simple as a ton of praise along with the help of a handy dandy hole punch that gives immediate gratification.

This is what’s making my days a little better. Go print some off if you’re feeling like you’re losing the battle or if it’s just time to switch up the method. I was in a little rut with my positive parenting (it’s hard to be “on” all the time with life stress, travel, etc., am I right, mamas?) but this has effortlessly brought us back on track.

Aidan carries around his card all day and I bring along my hole punch whereever we are so I don’t miss a chance to give him the positive reinforcement that he so very much needs during the run of the day. “Helping little brother get his buckle on in the cart? You must really like being a big brother! Bring me your card, baby!”

How brilliant and fun is this!?

Today was fantastic – Aidan received 11 hole punches. He needs A LOT of positive reinforcement so his deal is to fill up 4 full cards (since he’s 4) which he should manage to do by the end of the week with all his deeds.

Which are:

– listening the first time

– brush teeth

– get dressed

– put shoes on

– get backpack for school

– not throwing sand at the park

– eat meals without complaining/whining/goofing around

– nice to little brother

– help little brother

– help mama do chores

– a good report from preschool teachers

– a good report from sunday school teachers

– going to bed nicely (worth 2 hole punches because that’s a major challenge for us right now)

– etc. etc.

So as you can see the “deeds” add up quickly throughout the day making it easy to fill up 4 cards in about 5 days time.

By the way – we use this for only positive. There is no taking away cards and no threats. Just gentle constant reminders to work hard for those hole punches to reach the goal (new superhero tee, movie date with mom or dad, a treat, a one on one activity, etc.). When the punches don’t happen for something big (like bedtime) I tell Aidan, “well…looks like today we didn’t fill up our card because we chose not to go to bed nicely today…let’s work REALLY hard to make it happen tomorrow” or something along those lines.

Anyhow, loving this and hopefully you’re find it as helpful as I am. If you print these off let me know how it works for your little ones! And a HUGE thanks to the ladies at eighteen 25 for coming up with the fabulous idea and free printable!

About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since early 2009, Amanda has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their lives without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to give up their hip mama selves and trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. She can often be found sipping green tea, behind her camera, diy’ing, instagramming, in the middle of a workout, chasing her two little boys around her farm or with her nose in an ingredients list in efforts to help other moms become more aware of what is really in the products they buy.


  1. A.Smith says:

    I love this idea! I have a 4 year old who had a bit of a tiff this morning in zoo class with another girl because they have the same name and switched cards today… ugh. It feels very lonely when it’s my daughter who causes the problem so I’m happy to read that there are other children who don’t always get a good daily report from school. You’ve totally made my day – thank you :)

  2. Thanks for this! I know they say “terrible twos” but my head strong 4-year old is a much bigger personality than my 2-year old. He wants to be good and sometimes I think he needs more ways to excel. This is a great chance to really focus on praise and goals.

    • I feel the same way…2 has NOTHING on 4! And yes, a fantastic way to focus on their strengths and really get them feeling confident about themselves. I’m enjoying this much more than the magnet chart we were doing before.

  3. Love it! Thank you! Thought I was the only one dealing with this.

  4. I LOVE that!! Such a simple way to actually see the benefits of positive behaviour. Our kids are good girls, but somedays it feels like to all of us the few moments of disobedience (or attitude) can overshadow the hours of good! Thanks for sharing Amanda.

  5. Rebecca Orr says:

    This is just what we need for Lawson. He turns 5 tomorrow. He was amazing throughout ages 2 and 3. So good that complete strangers and family alike would comment on how well behaved he was. But I swear. the second he turned 4 something clicked in his little brain and the terrible 4’s raged. This is the kind of thing that could really help him out a lot. I am so disappointed I didn’t see these a year ago. But, I am going to print some and see how it goes. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. Amanda!! These ROCK!! We (as you know) are there with you! I may have to print these tonight!


  1. […] my boys, rewards charts work beautifully. And I’ve found that over the years  the simpler the better. A check mark or smiley face scribbled on a page by mom or dad with the […]

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