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Keep Kids In Line With Reward Boards

Updated on July 31, 2007

As parents we need all the tools we can get. Reward boards are a great way to get kids to do what you want them to do. At the same time, reward boards help them to take ownership in their behavior and have a good attitude about it. The idea is that kids get credit when they're caught doing something good. When some of us were little, we just had gold stars on a piece of paper. But everything is better now! Reward boards are a cute and fun way to get kids involved in their own discipline.

Reward Board Basics

Kids basically get "points" for every good behavior. Behaviors can be pre-defined or negotiated as you go. You may want to let kids nominate themselves for points. The key is that they are active in the process and that they know there is a reward they can work toward. When they feel in control of the reward board, they feel more in control of their behavior and have more incentive to do right.

Make Your Own Reward Board

I'm sure you can find a pre-made version, and I even found software reward programs for sale online, but reward boards are easy to make at home with a few simple supplies from the craft store. A plus to creating your own is that you can customize the look and function to your child.

A friend made these with corkboard, a stencil, and paint. Her twin daughters love the princess crown theme and the colored pushpins are functional as well as decorative. The girls get to add "jewels" to the crown every time they do something good. Mom pays them a quarter per jewel at the end of the day. They have to save up the money, but at their birthdays they get to spend it on whatever they like.

You don't have to pay in cash, you can devise whatever system you like. You may want to require a certain amount of points per day to qualify for dessert!

Parents Benefit In More Ways Than One

Reward boards are not only good tools to help kids to monitor their own behavior. They are also great reminder for parents to focus on positive reinforcement we can give our kids. It's so easy to point out the negative. Sometimes we forget that we need to give kids attention for the good things they are doing every day! A reward board in plain sight is a visual reminder to give your kids needed feedback. When you praise your child you'll encourage better behavior and you'll feel better about your parenting.


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  • celeste inscribed profile image

    Celeste Wilson 5 years ago

    Paul Edmondson - I believe very strongly in a reward system for my son. It has reinforced positive behaviour. However we also give what we call strikes for not so positive behaviour. He is allowed to worked the strikes off (cancel them out) with better choices. It really just depends on how you apply the reward system. So when he is working off his strikes he is not gaining any new rewards. It then takes him longer to reach his reward goal. It reminds him that their are consequences to bad behaviour.

  • thisiknow profile image

    thisiknow 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    When my daughter was younger she would not close the bathroom door, and if I did she would scream. I don't know where this fear came from but it became a problem when she began going to school. She wasn't allowed to pee with the door open at school so she would hold it until she wet herself. I suggested to her teacher that we both have a sticker board, one at home and one at school. Every time my daughter closed the bathroom door, she got a sticker. I bought two 'boards', markers, ribbons and glitter glue. My daughter was overjoyed while she created her boards. Then every time she shut the door at home she was given a sticker to place on her board. At the end of every school day her teacher would give her a sticker to place on the board she had brought to school, -if she made it throughout the day without wetting herself. After a while the novelty wore off and she stopped asking for stickers, but she came home dry everyday!

    Eventually their wants will change and the rewards will be different. Whenever my son asks me for money, a ride somewhere, etc, I always ask him what he did to contribute to the household that day. If he has contributed (washing dishes, cutting grass, etc), then he will get something in return. Everyone wins.

    If you can discipline all of their wrongs, then you can praise all of their rights.

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Here's another thought: We started keeping a chore list where the kids mark the chores they have completed and then get paid at the end of the week. I tell them they're not getting paid to do the chores - they have to do those anyway. They are paid to keep track and turn in the sheet. That's how I get around it, because I agree that chores should be a non-compensated part of family life.

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    For me, there is no magic bullet. We do things for a while until they stop working. I also have a hard time with praising every little thing and especially with giving rewards for expected behavior. However, it is important to "catch" kids doing something good. I personally wouldn't give rewards for basic chores and grooming, but for other small, but important things. For example, doing something the first time asked or without being asked at all. I would reward my kids for small kindnesses to others and good manners. It just depends on what's most important to you at the time. You have to be flexible and when it stops working, can it!

  • Paul Edmondson profile image

    Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

    I think this would be great for my four year old daughter.  However, my wife believes that we shouldn't reward things that she is expected to do. 

    I'd give a star for brushing their teeth, going to bed with good behavior, eating their dinner, and doing their dishes.

    Do you think there is a downside if you try something like this and stop it?