An Effective Reward System For Your Child
By: Rachael DeKoning, LCMFT
Are you sick of spending hours on chore charts just to remind your children again and again to follow them? Do you have trouble following through with rewards and punishments? Are the rewards costing you too much money? Is your verbal affirmation falling short? Are you looking for a new way to hold the ones you love accountable? It may be time to try an effective reward system for your child that is easy and fun for everyone to implement. It is called a reward jar!
Research shows rewards are far more effective than punishments at teaching our children. The reward jar is a jar full of age and monetary appropriate rewards created by the parents and kids together. When a child demonstrates decided upon good behavior (i.e. gets an A on a test) you can reward them in a spontaneous, family-fun way!
What you will need:
1. Jar (mason jar or even some kind of vase with a large opening works- they have them at the dollar store)
2. Pen/marker and strips/squares of paper (colored paper if you want to make it more festive- cut into small enough pieces to fold and fit in the jar)
3. Whatever you want to decorate the outside of the jar with (stickers, ribbon, puff paint, construction paper, etc.)
What to do:
1. On each piece of paper, write a reward idea that you determine WITH your child. It is important that they buy in and are excited. Keep in mind the amount of time and money you typically have and the activities that you will be more likely to follow through with. Write them as clear and detailed as possible, so no arguments happen at the time the reward is drawn. Here are some ideas to get you started (there are also many other good ideas available online):
- Parents will make your bed for a week
- Pizza for dinner!
- $5 playstation Gift card
- 30 more minutes with friends this weekend
- Ten more minutes on the xbox tonight
- Family game night
- Bowling with the family
- Get a new coloring book
- You pick the next movie the family watches
2. Set up a clear and specific routine for when the child can draw from the jar (i.e. if you complete your chores without being told for a week, we will draw at 5pm on Friday)
3. Have the child decorate the jar in whatever way they want! I know for me, the prettier something is, the more likely I am to utilize it.
If you want to put a twist on this idea, try a reward and consequences jar, or try having a reward jar for a week of good behavior, a month of good behavior, etc. with the rewards growing as the length of good behavior grows!
For more behavioral help and effective reward systems for your children call one of our play therapists today!