Rewarding kids for good behaviour is a tricky business. Why? Well, you don’t just go out and buy them a gift every time they do something good. You need to be careful when it comes to how and when you reward them. If you reward them too often, they’ll begin to expect rewards for behaviour that should be considered normal, like doing their chores. This could lead them to have a sense of ‘entitlement’ when they grow up. You don’t want that! You also need to be careful when it comes to what you say to them. The things you say stick in children’s heads. If you say, ‘here’s a gift for being a little genius!’, they may start to forget that they have to put work into achieving something. They’ll think they are either able to do it easily, or they aren’t at all. If you say, ‘here’s a gift for putting in lots of hard work!’, they’ll know that hard work brought them to where they are now. If you want to know more about rewarding your children for good behaviour, read on:
Don’t Offer Gifts When in a Stressful Situation
The worst thing you can do is offer gifts to kids when you’re in a stressful situation. It can be really easy to say things like, ‘if you stop crying I’ll give you a chocolate bar’ or ‘if you clean your room I’ll buy you that toy you wanted’, but this is bad for them. They learn that with bad behaviour, you’re more inclined to offer them something to be good. This is bribing them, not rewarding them. If you use behaviour like this, they’ll pretty soon learn how to play you to get exactly what they want.
Set Up a Proper Rewards System
Having a proper rewards system is key to making this work. A star chart works really well, where you add stars to the chart when they deserve it, and then after so many they get a bigger reward. This way, they know they’re working towards a bigger goal and they’re not just going to get something for nothing.
Reward With Experiences
Instead of rewarding with toys and things like that, reward with experiences. You could take them to a theme park, away for the weekend, on a walk, or let them go to their friend’s house for dinner. Experiences are much better ways to reward your children than lots of lavish gifts. However, if your child has a hobby, you could reward them that way. If they like collectable dolls, buy them a new one when they’ve collected so many stars. Hobbies are good for children!
Consider a Joint Chart
If you have more than one child, consider a joint chart. This way, they’ll work together and learn all about teamwork. Separate charts might encourage sibling rivalry.
Avoid Food as Rewards
Giving food as rewards can teach kids bad things about food. You don’t want them to grow up eating emotionally, so avoid giving them junk food after a job well done!
Be consistent and your kids will learn how important hard work is!