How to Keep a 4-Year-Old on Task

Carter (I’m not using his real name) had some behavior issues today, but overall he’s been improving since the start of the year. Together, he and I have worked on strategies to help him stay in control. (Email me at for the form that you see at the bottom of this post and I’ll send it to you!)

Here’s how we are doing it:

First, we picked 2 areas that Carter needed to work on (areas that he helped identify as his
goals – see chart below). Then, we divided the day into small chunks of time during which he could more easily achieve his goals.

When Carter achieved his goals in a time period, I gave him a sticker and lots of praise. When he didn’t quite make it, I gave him an X, along with some kind and encouraging words.

More stickers than X’s at the end of the day is a wonderful achievement, and gives Carter a boost. His parents sign and return the sheet every day so they stay informed, too.

At the end of the week, Carter and I count the good stickers. Yay! He earned enough to be able to play a game with Michael! On weeks that he hasn’t done as well (he had to earn good stickers at least 55% of the time in the first week, and a little bit more each week after that), we talk about it and try again. When he reaches 95%, Carter will be off the chart and working more dependably on his own.

Even preschoolers want to achieve. Let’s help them with fun and enjoyable activities that they can and want to do!

7 thoughts on “How to Keep a 4-Year-Old on Task

  1. Please send me a copy of your daily chart. It’s Great,! Thanks, Lori


  2. Cassandra Poole

    can you send me this, please.


  3. Please send me a chart


  4. I am a preschool teacher too! I love this behavior chart. Could you send me a copy?


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