Reward Systems for Kids — Good or Bad?


Rewarding children for good behavior: a big no-no or an occasional necessity? I normally try to swear off using a reward system for kids, but having five little monsters sharing one room this past month has made me reconsider just this once. I guess desperate times really do call for desperate measures!

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Do reward systems work for children?

I normally try to live by the way of parenting expert Julie Ross, who said that rewards teach kids that they’ll get a prize every time they do the right thing, which isn’t a good habit. Things really shouldn’t work that way, but  I’ve been giving my children rewards lately because they’ll come home from camp and it’s like World War III. Trying to coax my children to get in the bath, to eat their dinner, to get into bed, and to not wake each other up in the morning while they’re sharing a room has been quite a challenge. The past three days have been incredibly bumpy, so I needed something that would motivate my children. I instituted a star chart for the kids, and so far, it’s proven to be effective. I needed to implement a program that would give my children an incentive to do what they needed to do, because heaven knows I didn’t want five children up at 5 a.m. running around screaming and crying.

If my kids come home, don’t fuss, eat dinner, get ready for bed and go to bed, they get a star. I don’t do it all the time, but in times of need, I use this system and it draws them in. I keep my rewards chart up on my kitchen wall, and everyone gets to pencil their little stars in after breakfast if they were good the night before. If the kids collect a couple of stars by the weekend, they get a little prize from mommy! The prize isn’t anything extravagant (it’s usually as simple as a pack of baseball cards) but my children LOVE it. Motivating children is no easy thing, but this star chart seems to be working, at least for now.

To find out how my kids have reacted to this new rewards system, watch my video, and then let me know your thoughts! How do you feel about rewarding children for good behavior? Got any tips for how to motivate children? 

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