Offering kids rewards for good behaviour is one way to help children connect making appropriate choices with positive outcomes. If you are thinking of offering your kids rewards for their behaviour, set some ground rules from the outset. Do not reward every good decision that your children make, but instead select truly worthwhile decisions that deserve praise. Also do not feel that you have to break the bank to reward your children’s good behaviour as there are plenty of free options that can be just as delightful as something that is purchased. An extra hour of free time, the chance to select a book to read aloud, the chance to determine a meal, the authority to choose an outing and the opportunity to accompany a parent alone can all be powerful motivators when used to reward kids for their good behaviour.
An Extra Hour of Free Time
Children love to think that they are getting something extra, so the next time your child’s behaviour deserves a reward consider offering him or her some extra free time. This may come in the form of allowing them to stay up past their bed time for a little while, or the chance to continue with something that they enjoy when they would normally need to do a chore or activity. However, you’ll want to make sure that your child is supervised during this extra time as bad behaviour often accompanies boredom.
The Chance to Select a Book to Read Aloud
Giving your child the chance to make a decision can work well as a reward for good behaviour. If you are in the habit of reading aloud to your child, consider allowing him or her to select the book for that day’s reading. If you are not in this habit then you may consider starting such a tradition. Not only will your child be pleased to have the chance to select the book, but likely (s)he will also be delighted to spend some more time with you.
The Chance to Determine a Meal
Everyone needs to eat, so allowing a child who has displayed good behaviour to determine a meal for the family can be a great reward. Unless you are prepared to make whatever (s)he picks, however, you’ll probably want to allow your child to make the decision from one of two or three options you put forth. That way your child still has the thrill of making the decision but you can still retain control over what will be served and see to it that the meal is nutritious and fits well into your schedule and budget.
The Authority to Choose an Outing
Allowing a child to decide where to go on a small outing can also make a great, free reward for good behaviour. Again, retain control by offering your child several options to choose from. The park or playground, the local library, visiting a friend or relative and visiting a museum are all great day trips that shouldn’t cost you a thing. If you can’t go on the outing immediately, then allow your child to make the decision immediately following his or her good behaviour and begin a count down to the outing so that the child still has some instant gratification from his or her decision.
The Opportunity to Accompany a Parent Alone
Very often children see time alone with a parent as an ultimate reward. If your kids enjoy spending time with their parents then use the opportunity to have some alone time as a reward for good behaviour. Do not by any means withdraw time with a parent when behaviour is poor, but offer special, extra time when it is good. Even accompanying a parent on a trip to the market can be exciting for children who have earned the right to do so without siblings with them.
Rewarding children for good behaviour can help set them on the road to making better behavioural choices in the future. Don’t worry about blowing the budget on such rewards, however, as a variety of free rewards can suffice just as well.