Rainbow Behavior Chart for Pre-Schoolers

Hello friends! Happy Monday! I’m thinking good thoughts today and hoping that my positive attitude makes for a great and blessed week. Won’t you join me? It’s a new week full of new opportunities and chances to bless our families and bless others.

Today we’re going to be talking about a Rainbow Behavior Chart for Pre-Schoolers.

Before I get started, I want to first say I respect any parent’s decision for how they wish to discipline their child. I think whatever works for your family is 100% what you should do. I don’t judge others for their parenting decisions and choices, and I hope you would not judge mine. You will see below – I do spank my child. No, I don’t spank him every time he misbehaves. Spankings are for serious infractions, and they are not meant to hurt Cooper but to show him I mean business in a way (in a proven way, a way I’ve learned over years of trial and error with Cooper) that other discipline methods cannot. We discipline Cooper in a variety of ways – time out, taking things away, spanking, consequences, etc. Each method works best at a particular time for a particular circumstance. I encourage you to find what works for you and your child and be confident in your parenting choices.

Rainbow Behavior ChartMy sweet Cooper is 4.5 years old now. He is the sweetest, most loving little boy you will ever meet. He loves his family. He loves to give hugs, want to sit snug up against you when watching television, and frequently tells us “I love you” throughout the day. He is funny, inquisitive, and has never met a stranger. I’ve seen him go up to a perfect stranger in the Chick-Fil-A play area and ask if he can sit by her.

My son is also headstrong and stubborn. According to his teachers, he is “strong-willed” (which is, I think, a Christian way of saying he’s difficult. Ha!). He has quite the temper and he doesn’t transition well. When he doesn’t get his way, he melts down and throws fits.

We had a very difficult transition once Sullivan was born. Cooper had been an only child for 3.5 years at that point. He’d never had to share our attention. In addition to adding a new baby to the family, I also quit my job to SAH and I enrolled him in a three day a week preschool. In retrospect, it was too much change in too short a time period for him to handle.

About two weeks after Sullivan was born, we started seeing some serious behavior problems at home and at school. I met with his teacher and preschool director numerous times in an attempt to figure out how we could all help him. Ultimately I decided to come up with a list of 5 hard and fast rules he absolutely must follow, and I created the behavior chart and treasure box to enforce and reward the rules. The rainbow chart from a color system that was used in his classroom.


  1. No biting your friends. (This included kicking, hitting, pushing, etc.)
  2. Listen to your parents and teachers.
  3. When you are asked to do something, you must obey.
  4. When you get mad or sad, you should talk about how you feel.
  5. You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.

I went over the rules with him multiple times a day until he knew them by heart. We also talked about the reason behind each of the rules. #4, for example, it related to how he melts down and pitches fits when he gets angry. I’m trying to teach him to use words instead of blowing up and losing his temper. #5 is a saying they use at preschool – it means we do not pitch fits.

Here’s the chart:


I found a rainbow coloring page and printed off on my printer, coloring in the rainbow to match the color system they use at school. I also laminated it to make it last longer. I hang it on my fridge with magnets. I also mark the current color he is on with a small round magnet.

Cooper starts each day on green. Green is good, average behavior. Blue means he is listening well and doing what he is asked to do. Purple means he is not only listening, he is doing chores and being helpful to his mom and dad. Pink is absolutely exceptional behavior – a day of no sass, no yelling, no fits, no disobeying… pink is meant to be hard to achieve.

Yellow means he has broken one of the rules. Orange is for pitching fits or hitting. Red is a truly bad day… a day with multiple fits, hitting or harming another person, or refusing to follow the rules (for example, pulling away from me in a parking lot, walking away from me in a store… things that could cause him serious harm).

As I said, he starts off each day on green. No matter what he ended the night on, a new day is a chance to start over. I stress to him when he has bad days that mistakes are just chances to try again and do better. He can move up and down the rainbow throughout the day. He can be on red in the morning and move back up to green if he changes his attitude and behavior.

I let him move himself. I talk to him about his behavior and then ask him to change his color. I have found over time that he often tells me when he needs to change color – i.e. when he did not clean his room the other day after he was asked multiple times, he told me he needed to move to yellow.



This is the treasure box. It’s a small rectangular plastic box that I filled with goodies from the Dollar Spot, the Dollar Tree, and clearance items from Target and Walmart. It is mainly filled with candy, glow sticks, small cars, some Angry Birds telepods, markers, stickers, etc.

When he ends the day on green or blue, he gets to choose a piece of candy. For purple he chooses a toy, and pink is a special outing such as the movies, splash pad, picnic, bowling, Chuck E Cheese, etc.

The treasure box sits on top of my fridge. I probably spent about $20 when I made it last fall and you can see it still is full. I haven’t purchased anything else for it. The candy fills it up and lasts a long time. Plus I add in seasonal candy, like Halloween or Easter, when we’re done.


Again… I know spanking is not popular and many people have strong opinions. This is what works for us. You should of course do what works for your family.

Yellow means he gets something taken away. I often ask him “what do you think you should have to give up?” and let him choose. I’m often surprised that he goes immediately to the item I think he would not want to give up – his treasured monkey, the iPad, or his favorite toy. I put the toy in a plastic bin and set it on the counter so he can see it throughout the day. Even if he moves up the rainbow during the rest of the day, he does not get this item back until the next morning.

Orange is more serious. Orange often means fits, hitting, kicking, saying unacceptable things, etc. He gets a spanking and I take away TV and iPad time for the day.

Red is the worst behavior. It doesn’t happen often, but some days are nothing but fits (not losing his temper…. FITS: screaming, kicking me, losing all ability to speak to him or reason with him). I take away the iPad, his LeapPad, his favorite toys, his stuffed animal and put it in a plastic bin. He isn’t able to watch television, and he gets a spanking. He also does time out/quiet time and we talk about his behavior once he calms down.

I tried many things with Cooper, and this is what has worked for us. I don’t use this system daily anymore – I would not recommend a reward system long term (i.e. the treasure box) because children get more consumed with the reward than with good behavior. However, when we have a serious of bad behavior days (they come around every couple of weeks) I break this back out and we both get back on track.

If you have any questions, please let me know!


  1. How do you spank?

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