What is a behavior contract?
A behavior contract is an agreement between a child and an adult determining how the child will behave and what the consequences will be if not. The contract should list goals that you would like the child to achieve. They should be goals that can be achieved with reasonable effort. There can be a reward if the goals are met or consequences if they are not met. The behavior contract can be between a child and a parent or between a student and a teacher.
What does a personal contract for behavior change include?
You should list the goals for behavior change, the consequences or rewards and signatures to prove commitment. The child commits to a specific behavior or goal and in return either gains something (reward) for reaching the goal or loses something (consequences) for not reaching the goal.
For what age group are these contracts appropriate?
The idea that your child commits to certain behavior and then gets a reward for achieving it can be used with kids that are old enough to understand the concept. However, a contract is for older kids such as teenagers. Stickers charts are often too childish for teenagers and therefore the behavior contract is more appropriate for older kids.
Behavior Contract Template
This is a free printable and editable sample behavior contract template that you can use at home or at school.
Here are two behavior contract examples that you can use as-is or modify to suit your needs. The first one is a sample student behavior contract and the second one is for home use.
Behavior contract for teenager
A behavior contract for a teenager can list the things that a teenager commits to in return for receiving a privilege. For example, if you give your teenager a car to use, you can require a contract that stipulates how you expect your teenager to drive, what safety precautions they need to take, and when they need to come home. To download the behavior contract for teenager PDF format, click on the PDF button. To download the Word version, click on the Word button.
Behavior chart for a younger child
For younger kids, you can use one of our free sticker charts on this site that list the goals and a reward if the goals are achieved. There are many different designs and templates available and you can change the background, the sticker chart, the goal list and add photos and text.
The idea behind the contract is that both sides are parties to the agreement and both sides commit. Ideally, you will want your child to commit voluntarily to the agreement so that he will be committed to the process and will want to meet the goals. He will probably be doing it to get the promised reward or to do avoid the consequences but the point is that he must want to meet the goals for it to be effective. Therefore, the child should be present and involved when you list the goals and committed to the process. The child must fully understand his commitment (i.e. the list of goals) and the reward or consequences. The final contract is a written agreement that both parties sign. This makes it more difficult for the child to “forget” what he committed to.