How to Reward Kids for Good Behavior

Giving your children some kind of reward for good behavior is an excellent way to encourage more good behavior. It reinforces the idea that there are positive consequences for doing right, obeying, and making good choices. If you have problems getting your kids to do their chores or simply to behave themselves, then setting up a reward system can be a good way to get that to change.

Be Transparent with the Rewards

Your kids will have more motivation to work toward rewards if they know what the reward is. If you simply tell them that they will get something nice if they clean their room, get good grades, or get along with their siblings, then they may not be as motivated as you would like. They might imagine a reward that simply isn’t worth it to them, so it can really help to be transparent with the rewards and let them know what they are working toward. 

Offer Enticing Rewards

There are tons of different ways to reward your children, and when you are trying to decide what to do to reward them, you want to make it age-appropriate, appealing to them, and behaviorally-appropriate. Making the rewards age-appropriate means that you decide on rewards that are suitable for your kids based on their age. Older kids might appreciate time with their friends, a shopping trip, or a new book. Younger kids might be thrilled about candy, time at the park, or a new toy. 

Making the rewards appealing means making them suitable for your specific kids. Not all kids will want a new book to read. Socially anxious kids may not want to be rewarded with time with friends. If your kid has health issues, then candy might not be an appropriate reward. You have to choose rewards that are appropriate for your individual child and appealing enough that they will have good behavior to get that reward.

Finally, you want to make the reward behaviorally-appropriate, and by this I mean simply choosing a reward that is equal to what they have done. So, if they clean their room, that doesn’t warrant a trip to an amusement park, just to give you an extreme example. On the other end of the spectrum, if they mow the lawn, you will want to reward them with more than just a candy bar. These are just some basic guidelines for how you want to pick the rewards. 

Change up the Rewards Every So Often

Kids can get tired of getting the same rewards each time, and if you want to keep their motivation high, you may want to change up what you reward them with occasionally. 

A reward can sometimes be as simple as just showing affection to your kids, giving them a hug or kiss or telling them thank you. As kids get older, these shows of affection and appreciation can be more involved, and you can sit down with the kids and talk to them about just how much you appreciate what they’ve done. You can also reward kids by giving them things, like candy, toys, books, video games, or money.

You can reward kids by giving them time, like letting them play games for a while, spend time with their friends, go do something they enjoy, or have some extra time to stay up before bed. Another way to reward kids with time is to take the responsibility of some chores away from them as a reward. Maybe you can hire professional cleaners such as these staten island cleaners to tidy the house instead of having your kids do it one week, just to show them how much you appreciate them. You could hire someone else to cut the grass. You could take on some of the chores yourself and use that as a way to show your kids your appreciation.

Be Consistent

One of the best ways to make sure you’re rewarding your kids properly and keeping them motivated to earn rewards and having good behavior is to be consistent with your rewards. If you give them $20 one week for cutting the grass and then $10 the next week, you will erode their trust and hurt their motivation. If there’s a good reason why you’ve changed the size of the reward, then you should sit down and explain it to your kid so they know where you’re coming from. Otherwise, they can think that you’re punishing them, or they may wonder what they’ve done wrong, or they may be frustrated by the lack of consistency.

It may not always be possible to be consistent in your rewards, because you’re tight on money, you run out of time, or something else. You could always put off the reward and give your kid an IOU, but do make sure to keep your promise and reward your kid when possible.

Tapering Off Rewards

You want to be careful about rewarding your child for every good deed they do or every chore they finish. Let them know that some of those things are simply their responsibility and part of doing their part to take care of the home, keep things clean, and keep everything going smoothly. Giving our rewards can initially be away to help teach your child new skills and get them to enjoy doing their work. After a while, you may want to taper off the rewards and not give rewards for some of the same things. As children get older, they may need to take on more responsibilities, and you might not be able to give them rewards for the small tasks anymore.

A good way to teach your children responsibility is to let them know that you’ll no longer be rewarding them for some things that are simply required of them but they have ways to earn rewards for other things that might be more involved and take more effort.

Hopefully, these guidelines can help you figure out how to reward your children for good behavior and encourage that behavior in your home.

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I'm Hayley and this is us; working parents to three tiny wild ones. Whether it's travel, food, lifestyle or just a healthy dose of parenting reality, there's something for everyone here. So sit back, get comfy and start scrolling!

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