Both my kids are excessively motivated by rewards. They love praise. They love to hear they did something well. They love treats, prizes and stickers for a job well done. We learned early on with my oldest that rewards seem to work A LOT better than nagging, punishments, or consequences. In fact, we’ve incorporated rewards into our daily routine and while some might see it as “bribing” good behavior, I actually think it helps kids focus and learn what they are supposed to do in a friendly, positive way.
Let’s face it, sometimes kids just need a little carrot dangled in front of them to get moving and do what you’re asking them to do. Sure, they should do it without the carrot, but sometimes that little extra motivation/incentive makes life easier for ALL of us…and I’m definitely not above doing the easy route when it’s available!
Our family introduced “sticker charts” a few years ago. I grab a poster board for each child, draw on a windy road of numbered squares, and encourage them to earn stickers towards a bigger prize when they complete the chart. We give out stickers when we catch them in the act of good behavior – for example, when my son is being extra sweet to his little sister, or when my youngest chooses to read quietly instead of grabbing her ipad. We reward them doing chores without complaining, or helping when asked with a happy attitude. Whatever *it* is that you’re trying to encourage (maybe it’s a positive attitude, or clearing their plate after dinner or putting laundry away) there’s a sticker just waiting to be added to a sticker chart!
We make the charts manageable so the kids feel like it doesn’t take months and months to finish. We put around 50-75 squares on their chart and put it in a visible location so they can regularly see their progress. We talk about what they are working towards to give them motivation to keep up their good work. Last time my son wanted a trip to Dave and Busters and my daughter wanted a new lego set, so that’s what we chose to focus on. Having something they chose helped them stay excited about their reward boards!
Here are a few ideas of “rewards” you could offer at the end of the chart:
- Experiences: a zoo trip, a coffee/hot chocolate date, a movie
- Toys: stuffed animals, fidgets, lego sets
- Gift Cards
- Special Time with a parent or grandparent
- Board Game
- Craft Kit
We hope these give you a few ideas to motivate positive behavior in your own home, and feel free to share other ideas/suggestions you’ve tried with your own kids!