Are Reward Systems Good for Children?

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We believe positive recognition is the best way to help a child understand what is right versus wrong. Praise shows what behaviours are kind, helpful, and when they are well behaved. But, sometimes we need a little more help than just praise! Which is where reward systems come in – a great visual representation of your child’s behaviours.

A reward system is a programme where the child’s behaviour is tracked. After a period of time, if the goal is met, they will receive a reward. It’s exciting for the child to see the chart moving. But, it is also a visual reminder to wash those dishes, complete homework on time, or simply, brush their teeth!

So, to help, we have rounded up our top tips for Reward Systems:

  • Implement a reward chart that has their favourite character as stickers. Children love the visual representation of their behaviour, and tracking how close they are to receiving their reward.
  • Rewards don’t always have to be a gift or money! The smallest things impact a child – a high-five, staying up late, playing a video game, watching a little more TV than usual, are all great options.
  • Choose one behaviour to track at a time, with a simple end-goal. A child needs to be able to understand and appreciate what they are working toward, and too many behaviours can make that confusing for them.
  • Explain the reward system to your child. Make sure they know it’s a positive strategy, rather than a punishment. Ensure they understand what the goal is, how they are rewarded and when they will receive a reward.
  • Include them in deciding what rewards they get, behaviours to track and the period to measure. This will help motivate them as they have been part of the decision-making process.
  • Make sure the reward is given straight away. If there is a delay, a younger child may forget the reason for the reward, and the feeling of recognition is not as high.
  • We all know how desperately you want children to behave in public, but make sure the reward system is not used as a bribe. Your child will start acting out on purpose to get a reward!

As great as reward systems are, never let it take the place of praise and recognition of a child. We all know how a great pat on the back feels when you have done something well, and this really helps build a child’s confidence.