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Reward Programs For Children

Updated on February 27, 2013

Finding a way to promote good behaviour

When my son first went to school we noticed that he started exhibiting some behaviour that we didn't agree with. He would not follow through with requests from us, and would forget to do even the simplest tasks. It became exhausting to follow him around, constantly reminding him to brush teeth, wash hands, push back the chair or make the bed.

My Mom came to the rescue one day when she suggested that we find a fun way to motivate him. So we brain stormed for a few days and finally decided on a reward vs strike program. We also decided that Liam should be a part of the program right from the beginning.

We found a large cardboard box, lay it out on the family room floor and asked him to lie down on it. We traced around his body and then cut the cardboard boy out. We found some of his old clothes and asked him to dress the paper boy. We even drew some glasses on the face since my son wears glasses. The right arm was bent upwards palm out and the left arm was bent downward palm facing backward.

We then explained to him that if he followed the rules of our home and stayed on task with his chores that he could earn rewards that we would put on the right hand but if not he would earn a strike that would be put on the left hand. Once a reward was given it could not be taken away and strikes could be 'worked off'. Rewards were worth 50c each and he could cash them in once a month as long as there were no strikes left over for the month.

Maximus Rewardus

We hung the cardboard boy in a prominent place so that my son had a constant reminder of how well he was doing.
We hung the cardboard boy in a prominent place so that my son had a constant reminder of how well he was doing.

Adding to the rewards

He immediately responded and I wasn't getting any unhappy reports from teachers, in fact quite the opposite. I saw a marked improvement in his sense of responsibility, respect and just overall good behaviour. At the end of the month he could take his earnings to the store or save it for a bigger purchase. It wasn't long that we noticed that he was getting fewer and fewer strikes, until eventually there were almost none.

It worked so well I decided to add to the incentive and start an additional reward system aimed only at school work. Homework was a problem and became a very emotional time of the day. We introduced a small treasure chest (my son chose it himself from the craft store). We bought some plastic doubloons from the party store and with every successful homework assignment he earned a doubloon. Again he was able to cash the doubloons in for real money at the end of the month.

Treasure Chest

We laugh again

There are so many variations for this type of reward system. Personalising it to fit your family is the fun part. It is so simple to motivate a child. Within days the stress level in our home dropped to near nothing and we started to laugh again.

What are some ways that you found to motivate your child(ren)?


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    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      6 years ago

      Hello Careermommy, it is lovely to meet you. This worked like a charm with my son. Good luck. It is a fun project right from the start.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Celeste, this is a great idea! I was looking for some reward incentive ideas for my 4-year old. The cardboard cut-out is so creative. This is one that I will try. Thank you for sharing this.

    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      6 years ago

      Thank you. It has served us well. He stands near the front door now and it is really funny to see the reactions of folks who come through our front door. Some have even greeted him. tee hee He is life size and a powerful reminder to my son that good things come from good choices.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      The cardboard cut out is a great idea. Very creative. :)


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