A Start Guide on Reward Systems for Kids


Having small children at home is an eternal exercise in patience and diplomacy. If you are trying to tame tantrums or encourage certain behaviors just by yelling or punishing them, you’ve probably noticed that it rarely works. Reward systems are a more efficient way of dealing with children. This approach encourages behavioral modification in children through positive reinforcement. 

There are no magic formulas, and you will have to customize the system according to your child’s age, personality, and interests – but it would be a gentler and more holistic approach to teaching a child right from wrong. 

Let’s take a look at how it works and at some starter tips for using a reward system as a teaching tool.

Guide on Reward Systems for Kids

Rewarding Good Behavior

Adults often have their own reward systems. In some jobs, when the employee meets or exceeds the monthly goals, he usually receives a bonus. We give ourselves individual rewards after a particular achievement, such as buying a new outfit or going to a fancy restaurant.

There is no reason not to adopt this practice for children and reward them for good behavior, teaching them from an early age that replacing bad behaviors with healthy ones can bring positive results. 

It works in different ways, but praise, positive feedback, or even symbolic monetary reward for good behavior influences a child to follow that path in the future rather than misbehaving.

Let’s say, for example, that your kids always leave their clothes lying around the room. You can tell them that you will award points every time the coat is on the hanger, the clothes are folded, and the shoes are in the right place. 

The sum of these points will represent some symbolic reward at the end of the week or month. They will interpret it as a challenge or game and strive to accumulate the necessary points to be rewarded. After some time, they will get used to maintaining these practices even without prizes.

Some benefits of rewarding good behavior are:

● Improves parent-child relationship by replacing shouted orders with proactive behavior.

● Reinforces the notions of responsibility and independence.

● Helps children develop new skills.

● Allows children to see the positive aspects of good behavior.

● Increases their self-esteem because they feel challenged and rewarded in the face of relatively simple practices.

A Start to Reward System Conditioning

Creating a reward system can be challenging at first. Children may not react well to the idea or may not understand the rules. These are the most important steps to creating an efficient reward system and ensuring your kids follow it properly:

Decide on Rewarding Behaviors 

When you start a reward system, it can become very confusing if you start demanding too many things at once. The ideal is to start slowly, one step at a time, and decide which main behaviors you want to correct through rewards. After some specific misbehavior is changed, you can finally target another or more than one.

Decide on the Rewards

Most of the time, positive feedback, praise, or even a tight hug will serve as motivation. But sometimes, a significant behavior change deserves a bigger reward – whether it’s a symbolic amount of money or a certain action, like preparing the child’s favorite dish or taking them to the movies. Whatever it is, clearly communicate the rewards to your kids and ensure that these rewards are motivating enough.

Allow for Bonus Rewards

The reward system works if your kids start practicing good behavior without being asked to. You can even institute bonus rewards, further motivating children to continue behaving that way. This can ensure kids follow instructions to their benefit. For example, they need to be properly protected by wearing kids’ prescription sunglasses for summer when they're playing outdoors.

Establish a Point System

More serious misbehaviors may require you to adopt a “point system” rather than handing out prizes or rewards more frequently. In this case, the child would add points for each positive practice (saying “thank you”, keeping their things organized, getting good grades at school), and at the end of the month, the total points would be exchanged for a certain prize according to the scoreboard.

Don’t Be Discouraged

It may take some time for your kids to start feeling motivated by the reward system, so don’t give up at the first difficulty. Even though it seems like an odd response to a child misbehaving, the practice is still effective.

Reward systems won’t encourage bad behavior if implemented properly, but they may require a lot of prep and work. Do not forget to discuss the rules before putting them into practice and keep rewards on hand to use when necessary; otherwise, your kids may feel cheated and stop following the system.

Rewards for Both Parents and Children

We live in a highly competitive society where you need to feel motivated to give your best. It is no different for children. Video games, sports, and school activities constantly put them in a competition to do better and be the best. You can take advantage of this to reward them for good behavior.

We all like to receive something in return for our efforts, even a compliment. Whenever you want to change your child’s negative behaviors, assign rewards/positive feedback to help them get on the best path.

Adopting a reward system can be rewarding for children and parents. But keep in mind that you need to discuss the rules very well and not cheat (for example, refusing to give the reward they earned). Otherwise, all the effort will have been for nothing.


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