Rewarding kids for good behaviour can be a complicated issue for parents. You may wonder how to encourage good values without crossing the line into bribery.
While there are pros and cons to the practice, it seems very popular. More than 48% of parents admitted to sometimes bribing their offspring, according to a recent survey by investment managers T. Rowe Price.
Before your child brings home their next report card, read these suggestions. You’ll learn how to use rewards constructively and pick up some alternative methods for recognizing good grades and other achievements.
How to Reward Your Child for Good Behaviour
Target specific actions. Limiting the scope of rewards can help you to avoid the biggest drawbacks. Your kids are less likely to feel entitled or try to negotiate basic expectations like going to school or cleaning their rooms. Save incentives for areas where your child may be struggling or where they’re making outstanding progress.
Give advance notice. Announce rewards ahead of time so your child knows how to earn them. That way you’ll be encouraging the events you want to see rather than looking like you’re caving in to stop a tantrum.
Scale it down. Modest treats are ideal for giving kids a pat on the back without saddling them with unrealistic expectations of how the world works. Raking the leaves in the back yard may be worth a day at the amusement park rather than a new car.
Substitute gifts for cash. Personalized gifts foster family spirit more than cold cash. Giving your daughter a scarf rather than a $20 bill makes the gesture warmer than a typical business transaction.
Involve your child. Ask for input. The most effective rewards are the ones your child selects. You may want to present a few options for them to consider.
Plan ahead. Rewards tend to lose their power over time. Have an exit strategy in mind so your child will eventually ace their math test without expecting a new video game.
Treat discipline issues separately. Your child will be more enthusiastic about any reward system if they don’t have to worry about losing ground. Use time-outs or a loss of privileges to respond to lapses in other areas rather than withholding promised incentives.
How to Use Alternatives and Supplements
- Stress reciprocity. Intrinsic motivators like learning to value cooperation will ultimately take your child further than any sticker chart you can design. Seize opportunities that show how being responsible and respectful pays off. Soon, your son will help his younger brother to make his bed without thinking about receiving anything in return.
- Identify underlying causes. Helping your son to catch up in math may require more than a skateboard. Investigate all relevant factors, like whether he’s distracted by a new girlfriend.
Talk heart to heart. Your love and time are the greatest resources you can share with your children. Schedule one-to-one time on a regular basis for discussing what’s on their minds. The first step is to listen attentively.
Be a powerful role model. Similarly, the example you set will have a lasting impact on your kids. Think about how you manage your emotions and how you spend your days. Do you show them the benefits of eating a healthy diet and enjoying close friendships? What are you teaching them about spiritual values and generosity?
As a parent, you’re bound to feel proud when your child comes to understand that good behaviour is its own reward. Until then, an occasional sticker or afternoon movie may help you both to survive any rough patches and enjoy the learning process.