Positive reinforcement is at the heart of reward systems, which use them to incentivize good behavior. This article will explain how to implement reward systems for children of all ages.

Many parents swear by reward systems to assist their children in meeting behavioral milestones (and tamp down a few tantrums along the way). Positive reinforcement is used to entice people to change their behavior.

Self-esteem can be boosted by focusing on good deeds. If a child is praised for a single good act, the theory goes, he’ll be more willing to cooperate in future instances as well.

Designing Reward Schemes for Young Children

Consider utilizing a chart with stickers as a reward system for young children. It’s easy to follow these steps: Put a sticker on the chart each time your child meets a goal. Some parents praise their children for achieving certain milestones, as well. 

Each time she dresses, for example, she can get a sticker. A tiny toy or a new book can be earned with ten stickers. Printable incentive charts can be found online, but you can also design your own.

Keep in mind that you’re not restricted to using stickers. It’s possible to use reward charts in various ways, from dimes in a jar to magnets on the fridge to child-friendly applications to counted points—whatever works best for your child! Just keep in mind that most young children benefit from visual aids.

Here are a few pointers for implementing a chart of rewards with young children.

Immediately reward your child or preschooler. Stickers should be distributed as soon as the appropriate action is observed to avoid confusion. That way, your child will remember why they’ve been awarded.

Only monitor one behavior at a time. You should only track one behavior at a time when you begin a reward system. You may reward your toddler or preschooler for using the bathroom, getting dressed, saying “thank you,” and not complaining, among other things, with stickers. 

Make sure your goals are attainable and appropriate for your child’s age and stage of development before moving on to the next one.

Give a lot of compliments. Pleasuring one’s parents is a lifelong passion for toddlers and preschoolers. When your child achieves a goal, show her how proud you are of her accomplishments by giving her lots of praise. Also, keep bringing up the chart of rewards with her.

Use clear language. When speaking to toddlers and preschoolers, use simple words and phrases. You’re praising your child for “saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ rather than “expressing gratitude for acts of service.”

Don’t accept bribes. A reward system “should not be used as a bribe,” even if you are anxious to persuade your child to behave publicly. Your child may begin to act out on purpose because she knows she will be rewarded if she stops.

Designing At-Home Reward Systems for Children

A reward system for school-aged children is usually based on points rather than stickers. The only way to get them to alter their behavior is to provide them with larger incentives than simply keeping track of their scores. 

By way of example, children can exchange 20 points for a trip to the playground, a later curfew, or a half-hour more of gaming time.

Multiple behaviors should be monitored. You can add more rewards to the chart as your children become older. Make your child’s bed, keep him from becoming angry, do the laundry, take the dog for a walk, and be polite to his siblings might all win him points.

You may choose to remove points from your score. Some parents choose to deduct points from their child’s chart for bad behavior. Explaining the matter to your youngster is the best course of action.

Add a sensitivity to the passage of time to the system. Is your child prone to putting things off? Make your incentive system more time-sensitive by incorporating a timer! To get points, your child may have to make his bed by ten o’clock in the morning or do all of his duties by six o’clock in the evening.

Participate with your children. Talk to your youngster about what he likes and doesn’t like in terms of rewards. Given his stacks of unread books, a new book may not be of interest to him. Still, perhaps he’s looking forward to the family bike trip to the ice cream parlor that opened up down the street!

Do not deviate from the established procedures and policies. When used consistently, reward charts can be an effective tool for teaching your child what you expect of them. Even the simplest star charts require a lot of time and effort. Keeping a careful check on your children and knowing where they are at all times is a need.