Rewards for Kids: Effective Ways to Keep Children Motivated

rewards for kids

Managing children’s challenging behaviors doesn’t come easily for many parents. We must establish clear boundaries and expectations for our kids and consider what steps will be taken to meet these expectations. Otherwise, we may run into problems. In some cases, giving kids rewards can be an effective technique for shaping their choices and behavior. 

Using rewards is one of the most effective methods parents can utilize when shaping a child’s behavior and taming tantrums. Rewards are a form of positive reinforcement that can help with behavior modification. When children are rewarded with something they enjoy (such as treats or stickers), they tend to be more motivated to work hard to earn them. Therefore, they are more likely to repeat the same positive behaviors and cooperate in the future to keep earning rewards. 

If you haven’t tried implementing a rewards system in your home, you might want to consider trying. Read on to learn how you can set up a rewards plan with your kids. 

Understand the concept of a rewards system

Before you begin to implement a rewards system with your child, it’s essential to understand that a reward is different from a bribe. Rewards are used to encourage good behavior. Bribes, on the other hand, are usually used to stop misbehavior. 

For example, you may want to encourage your child to be more helpful at home or with his or her sibling at home. In this case,  you might offer a reward to show appreciation for his or her helpful behavior. On the other hand, if you want to discourage your child from having tantrums, offering them something in return for not melting down would be bribery. 

When using a reward system with your child, you may want to consider using tangible and intangible rewards. Tangible rewards include small toys, stickers, snacks, treats, or earning points toward the purchase of a special gift. Meanwhile, intangible rewards come in the form of compliments or heartfelt gratitude and acknowledgment for good behavior. 

Don’t delay giving rewards

When a child has exhibited positive behavior, earning his or her rewards shouldn’t be delayed. Giving the reward immediately after observing the behavior will help reinforce the behavior you want to encourage. If the gap is too long between the action and the reward, children might not remember what they’re being rewarded for. 

Focus on modifying one behavior at a time

As a parent, you may have a long list of behaviors you want to encourage in your child. However, it is best to focus on one behavior at a time. 

Think about the most important behavior you want to highlight. For example, if you’re trying to encourage healthy eating, offer your child a reward each time he or she finishes a meal with veggies and fruits without complaining or having a tantrum. Once your child has consistently displayed this habit, you can move on to the next behavior. 

Don’t forget to give praise and compliments

Praise and compliments are a form of intangible rewards, and they can be powerful tools for learning and motivation. By using praise when you notice your little one accomplishing a goal or exhibiting desired behaviors, you can help your child feel good about him or herself, which will encourage more positive behavior in the future. 

A simple “Good job!” when they finish their meal is a good start. If your child has aced his or her test at school, you can let your little one know how proud you are. These types of gestures of recognition may be simple, but they can go a long way. 

Encourage their input

Allowing your child to share their thoughts and have some say when it comes to the rewards system can make the process more enticing and fun. Instead of being the one who always decides which tangible rewards will be offered, consider creating a rewards “menu.” Work with children to make a list of which items they would like to see included in the reward options. 

For example, maybe your little one would enjoy an extra scoop of ice cream, 30 additional minutes of screen time, or a chocolate bar. As long as the choices do not conflict with your rules about their health, safety, and wellbeing, you can meet kids halfway as you create their rewards menu. 

Encouraging good behavior with kids is not always easy. A system of rewards for your kids at home could be an excellent place to start. Use this guide to help you get started!

For more helpful tips on parenting, or if you’re looking for an exceptional preschool for your little one, visit Imagine Nation Learning Center


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