Positive reinforcement is vital for a child’s growth and development, self-esteem and willingness to increase good behaviour and reduce negative behaviour. So how can we reward our children in unique and creative ways that are actually beneficial for them, without costing a fortune?
Take your child on a special date
Special dates work best when you have more than one child. Children love individual attention, especially when you make them feel unique and appreciated. This is certainly true for school-aged children. To reward good behaviour, you can take your child to a local cafe for a hot chocolate or a slice of cheesecake. Spending one-on-one time is a great way to get children talking about what is going on in their world, something that can become increasingly rare as they head into their high school years.
Reward your children with a fun family outing
Whether you are looking to reward one individual child or all your children, taking them on a fun family outing does wonders for positively reinforcing good behaviour. Take the family to the beach for fish and chips, go to the park and play cricket, or take a day trip to the zoo. You not only reward your children but the whole family gets to spend quality time together doing something out of the ordinary. You will find it is something your children will remember and enjoy reminiscing on.
Increasing privileges is a great way to creatively reward your child, especially as they grow older. Increasing privileges, such as extending bed time by half an hour or allowing an extra 15 minutes of television or video games can help to positively reinforce long-term good behaviours such as keeping a bedroom tidy, reducing argumentative attitudes or doing chores without whingeing. Just keep in mind that the good behaviour needs to come before the reward and not the other way around, otherwise you will find it will turn into a bribe.
Think outside the box
Thinking outside the box works a treat for young children, including toddlers. Don’t be afraid to get creative and take your children by surprise. Let them take a bath with food colouring added, have an indoor snowball fight with rolled up socks, camp out in the backyard, or have a family movie night at home on the couch with popcorn. These fun ideas are not only great rewards for your children, but they also get their creative minds working.
Don’t underestimate the power of encouraging words
A hug, word of thanks or praise, a high five or an acknowledgement in front of the whole family works wonders for rewarding your children for small good deeds, acts of kindness and general good behaviour. Constant words of encouragement directed towards our children help to build their self-esteem and their self-confidence. Tell Aunty about how they helped you weed the garden and let Grandma read the good report card from school. Your child will feel loved, appreciated and able to accomplish what life brings his or her way.