Interested in implementing some positive reinforcement techniques with your children? Here are 10 reward ideas for good behavior.
Incentives and rewards are powerful tools for teaching your children good behavior. Rather than bribing them in a stressful moment, effective rewards are preplanned. Your children may or may not know about potential rewards.
So, what kinds of rewards work best?
That’s up to you! You know your child better than anyone. It’s often best to use a variety of reward types and not to give a reward every single time they exhibit good behavior. Unpredictability promotes more consistent good behavior.
Interested in learning about the top reward ideas for good behavior? Keep reading!
1. Verbal Praise
Using verbal praise is a positive reward for children, especially young children. A simple, “great job!” or “you did awesome!” can go a long way.
In older children, verbal praise is still appreciated but only in authentic scenarios. If you do it too often, your child might think you feel bad for them. Or, that you don’t think they’re intelligent enough to know that they didn’t do a good job.
High fives, hugs, and pats on the back are free forms of reward that can mean a lot. And, saying phrases like “I appreciate you” or “You’re really improving” are also excellent variations.
You can give other free rewards in the form of privileges. What kid doesn’t want to stay up 20 minutes later? Or get to have a sweet snack before bed?
There are other privilege rewards you can tailor to their personality. Some kids would love extra screen time with their devices. Others would be thrilled to get to sleep in your bed for a night.
Some other ideas are getting to choose the car music, wear their dad’s tie, or be allowed to hold the leash as you walk the dog.
3. Special Activity
For older kids who crave social activities, reward them with fun activities. For example, having their first sleepover with friends.
The activity could be a family outing that they love doing. Like, visiting a pumpkin patch, having a picnic, or going to the movies.
One interesting reward that many children love is getting to wear a temporary tattoo. For the reward, let them pick any tattoo and place it anywhere they like (even on you!).
Coupons are a fun way to give your child a tangible reward without spending any money. Simply design a coupon on your computer and print it out. Or, draw it on paper and cut it out with scissors.
These coupons could be for anything your child values.
One could be a coupon to get out of doing a chore. Another could be a voucher to choose what everyone eats for dinner. You could even give them a coupon for a spa night with manicures, face masks, and a massage.
5. Tokens or Coins
Many kids, especially younger ones, love receiving tangible rewards. The physical things they own often mean a lot to young kids, especially their collections.
Collectible coins and tokens are amazing rewards. It inspires them to start collecting which creates further motivation to behave well.
If your child has an interest in soldiers and the army, consider rewarding them with challenge coins . You might want to provide them with more info about challenge coins to they understand the reward.
6. Skip School
It’s normal for older kids and teens to start preferring their free time over time spent in school. For these kids, rewarding them with permission to skip school is the coolest gift ever.
It doesn’t have to be the whole day, though. You could pick them up early from school to go see a movie. Or, drop them off later at school so you can go out for breakfast together.
Of course, let the school know when they’ll be coming or going.
7. Future Rewards Fund
This reward is perfect for older children who are starting to learn about money. They may already have a piggy bank and their own purse or wallet.
Think of something they would love to have in the future. Like a new toy, new clothes, or a fun experience. Create a jar specifically for that fund.
As a reward, put $10 in the jar for their future reward. To add a lesson to the reward, give them the $10 in small change. Then, they can count how many dollars there are before putting it all in the jar.
8. Book Store Certificate
Reading is so important for developing brains. It’s a skill that they’ll use for the rest of their lives. And, reading books is a much healthier habit than playing video games.
So, reward them with a gift certificate to the bookstore. It doesn’t have to be a monetary amount; just write the certificate to say, “one new book.”
Then, make it a fun outing to go to the store and pick a new book to buy.
9. More Responsibilities
You may be thinking, “what kid wants more responsibilities? That’s not a reward!” And, for older children, you’d be correct.
But, for toddlers, responsibilities are the most exciting thing ever.
You can reward toddlers for good behavior by letting them help you clean, cook dinner, or bathe the dog. Make it more exciting by creating a project to work on together. Like raking the leaves outside or painting the shed.
10. Fewer Responsibilities
Naturally, taking away responsibilities is an excellent reward for older children and teenagers. For teens who only want to sleep and text their friends, removing chores from their to-do list is amazing.
So, if your teen has been especially helpful this week, let them off the hook for mowing the lawn. Or, tell them not to worry about babysitting this weekend.
You’ll be shocked by how much they appreciate this reward.
Want More Reward Ideas for Good Behavior?
Motivating kids to choose good behavior over bad takes work. You need a mix of verbal empowerment, unpredictable prizes, and customized rewards.
Each child is different, so it’s your job to choose the reward yours will appreciate most.
For more reward ideas for good behavior and other parenting tricks, read the Parenting section of our blog!