In my last post, I wrote about ways to target and shape a behavior. One of your most powerful tools is to use rewards for what you’d like to see, but sometimes it can be challenging to come up with ideas! Here is a list of possible rewards you could use. Not every idea will be right for every child, but use this to select a few good matches or generate your own ideas about the reward that would motivate your child.
Reward Ideas for Children:
- Time to play with Mom or Dad
- Extra time to play alone
- Choosing a book for a parent to read to them
- Choosing a book to read to a parent
- Taking a bubble bath
- Extra screen time
- Going bowling
- Playing a sport with Mom or Dad
- Having a sleepover in a different room of the house
- Movie night with pizza and popcorn
- A Pokemon card (or other small collectible item - larger items can be earned with a token system)
- One item from a dollar store (suggestion: stock up on small treats and put together a prize box so the child can select from this)
- Choosing a show to watch
- Extra outdoor play time
- Staying up 10 minutes later
- A special food/drink treat
- Sitting in the front seat
- Playing with special toys like play doh
- Creating an art project
- Going to the park
- Taking a walk
- Choosing a meal
- Helping to make cookies
You may notice that most of these are not tangible rewards, but rather a privilege or time spent with others in the family. If you choose a non-tangible reward, it may be helpful to either give the reward immediately or present a coupon representing the reward to the child.
Do you have other ideas for rewards? Please share them below!
Emily Herber McLean, LPC is a child and family therapist at The Center for Psychological Services. To learn more about her practice, visit www.centerpsych.com.