Whether it is a temper tantrum or forgetting to do their homework, kids know how to test the limits. Rewards and punishment are often used to keep kids motivated to control themselves and make good decisions. Research has shown that punishment may motivate some children to behave, but it can have the opposite effect on others. Rewards, on the other hand, get much better results. Here are 5 tips that can help parents use rewards to motivate their kids.
Give money and treats sparingly.
It’s not that parents should never use treats or money as a reward, but it should not be often. Kids don’t have a very good concept of money, so it isn’t very effective as a reward. Treats aren’t very motivating for most kids because parents or other adults will allow treats whether they behave or not. If the reward isn’t special, it loses its effectiveness.
Give them something special.
The trick is to give the something that is meaningful to them that they would not be given anyway. Stickers are a great alternative to snacks or money. It can be pictures of their favorite cartoon character, stars, or happy faces as long as it is special to the child. When they have a place to display their stickers, such as a poster board hanging on their wall, they can see their collection and may be even more motivated.
Give them time.
Instead of sending them to bed early as a punishment, give them some extra time before bed for good behavior. Let them know if they behave, they can go to bed 30 minutes later than usual. Another example of using time as a reward is to let them have some computer time. Most kids love playing on a computer. Download some age appropriate games or visit a game site for kids. You get bonus parent points if they are educational. Extra time on the playground or at a friend’s house can be used as well.
Switch it up.
It’s important to use a variety of rewards with kids. Don’t use the same reward every time or they may feel entitled to it. For example, don’t have them going to bed thirty minutes later every night or it will lose its effectiveness. It should never feel like a punishment when they don’t get rewarded. Instead, come up with new rewards to keep them interested and motivated.
Stay calm and loving.
The goal of using creative discipline is for parents to eliminate negative interactions with their children. When a reward is earned, never take it away. That is considered punishment. Instead, remind them that they got their reward because of good behavior. If they want to earn more rewards, they have to make good decisions. Often kids’ anxieties or pride can get in the way of learning a lesson when they feel their parents are angry at them. Let the rewards system work on its own without yelling or scolding.
Rewards empower children to make their own decision to behave. This makes them more likely to continue the good behavior even when no rewards are given. Parents who use rewards are teaching kids how to choose to make good decisions. This lesson will be important for the rest of their lives.