Reward Ideas For Kids

“Reward good behaviour. Be firm and strict with bad behaviour.”

I’m sure like most parents, this is essentially your view on raising children.

However, I’ve learnt over the past couple of years, it’s not always easy to implement this philosophy.

Whether it’s because I’m tired after work, or distracted by something, I know there have been some instances when Mia has ‘got away’ with something..

..or I haven’t praised her when she’s been good.

With two parents working full-time, it’s challenging to raise children, so you often just hope you’re doing a good job overall

Here are 30 reward ideas for kids. Turn your little rascal into a little angel!

Seeing your son or daughter smile or laugh when you praise them is one of the wonderful moments of being a parent.

You can give short and immediate rewards on a day to day basis, or for older children, you can build up rewards step by step for a bigger prize!

Just try and avoid bribes as often as you can…

Rewards vs Bribes – What’s the difference?

I have to admit with Mia we do bribe occasionally.

It’s usually to get her to eat her dinner or put her to bed. The bribe could be to have a tasty treat, or to watch cartoons.

But fortunately, we don’t do it all the time.

This is because bribes can reinforce bad behaviour.

If a child knows they just has to behave badly, or not do what you ask, and you’ll cave in and give it something they want…

Well, guess what?

He or she is just going to keep doing this action over and over again to watch some TV, have some sweets etc.

It’s a reactive approach to dealing with a difficult situation, and it can lead to bad habits.

upset girl | bad behaviour

However, a reward is slightly different. It’s planned in advance before the bad behaviour has occurred.

In fact, it’s only given as a result of good behaviour.

For example, if you tell them at home that if they behave well during the car journey….they will get xyz.

That’s a reward.

And if they misbehave in the car, they don’t get the reward.

Simple as that.

Here are some reward ideas for kids, so you can encourage the little rascals to behave better…

food rewards for kids

Offering food and treats as a reward

These are usually some of the more effective rewards. Kids will do anything for food!

1. Give them some sweets or candy

2. Or give them their favourite piece of fruit (a more healthy option)

3. Let them choose what snack to have

4. Have an indoor picnic

5. Let them choose where to go out and eat

6. Let them choose what to make for lunch or dinner. Some kids love to help in the kitchen

praise your kids

Praise them

This is simple, free and easy to do. I sometimes slip into the habit of telling Mia what NOT to do, where as I should be praising her for all the things she does well!

Praise can work well as a reward.

7. Give a ‘High 5”. Mia especially loves receiving one of these

8. Give a kiss or hug

9. Say ‘Well done’ or “Good job”

10. Tell them how proud you are of them.

Other reward ideas for kids

If food doesn’t work, there are always toys, TV and other little things to encourage good behaviour

11. Take them to their favourite playground

12. Let them watch a little bit more TV (just don’t do this one too often)

13. Go to the toy shop and let them choose a toy to buy

14. Give them some stickers. You can get sticker charts to put on the fridge for bigger rewards (see below)

15. Let them choose what music to listen to in the car.

16. Play their favourite game together e.g board games, card games, puzzles etc

17. Read their favourite book together, or offer to buy a book from your local shop

18. Play their favourite activity. Here’s a list of some here.

19. Play outside in the garden.

20. Let them stay up for an extra 15 minutes before they go to bed.

21. Go and feed the ducks

rewards for older kids and teenagers

Rewards for older kids / Big rewards

For older children, offering a bigger reward can work well if they behave well over a number of days.

A sticker chart can help to track their progress of good behaviour too.

Here are some big rewards that almost all children will love!

22. Buy them a new scooter or bike

23. Go to the cinema

24. Go on a kids friendly holiday

25. A day trip to a fun museum. I’m lucky living in London as there are so many to choose from.

26. Camp out in the garden

27. Give their bedroom a makeover

28. Go to the zoo / aquarium

29. Go to a theme park

30. Go to a sports event.

Conclusion

When offering rewards you need to strike the right balance. You don’t want to do it too much as your child will start expecting rewards all the time.

But as long as the right expectations are set beforehand, and you don’t bribe your kids when they’re behaving badly, offering rewards can be a highly effective approach to encourage good behaviour.

Good luck!

Additional Resources

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Author: Graham Scott

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