Using reward charts for kids can be a highly effective way to change undesirable behavior. The reward charts can be a great tool not only as an incentive system for our kids, but also (some would suggest more importantly) a system that encourages us parents to look for and recognize the good behaviors in our kids.
Obviously part of using reward charts for kids is to use rewards for using or completing the reward charts. The question often asked is “what rewards for kids do we use?” – the reward you use really is only limited by your imagination. Some generalizations when choosing rewards for kids are:
- Consider letting your child help to choose the rewards or even a list of rewards that they may choose from.
- Use rewards that have meaning for your kids. If your kids don’t desire the reward, the success of the reward chart might be limited.
- Rewards for kids don’t have to be a material, tangible item. In fact the intangibles can often be more of an incentive – cuddles with Mom, extra chapter before bed, extra half hour of TV, friend over for playtime, trip to the park, visit to the beach, movie with Dad, choice of dinner, making a cake with Mom …………. and so on.
- Using a material reward is fine, but try to make it small, inexpensive items. Save the “big-ticket” rewards for those really BIG hurdles that some kids have to go through.
- Sometimes the sticker or star that a child gets is an effective reward in-and-of-itself.
- Don’t forget the power of praise as as incentive/reward when using reward charts for kids. As long as the praise is meaningful and constructive it is invaluable.
Other rewards for kids that you might consider:
DVD night, sleep-over with friends, sleep-over at Grandparent’s, choice of dinner, extra playtime, trip to the $2 shop, bag of marbles, coloring-in book, small toy car, box of pencils, choice of dessert, favorite CD, trip to the movies, making play-dough, picnic, trip to the zoo, making crafts, trip to the ice-cream shop, bag of toy animals, go swimming etc etc etc.
Also consider bagging some of these small items and offering them as a lucky dip when your child reaches the reward chart goal. Or even writing a number of activities on separate pieces of paper and have your child draw their reward from a hat.
In short when organizing rewards for kids: be creative, be reasonable, involve your kids, make sure they complete their reward chart goal before being rewarded, and make it FUN!