Motivation is important in children as it makes them look forward to achieving their goals. Although it may not be the same for every child, most of them want to excel, and this can only happen when there’s a surge in motivation levels.
Simple rewards can include praising them or preparing their favorite meal. On the other hand, extreme rewards such as getting them a pet, visiting the zoo, or letting them have a sleepover with their friends can be given for exemplary behavior. There are so many ways for parents to appropriately reward their kids, and they can be very creative about it.
Understanding Motivation in Kids
Motivation is a mental condition that impels and stirs up someone to do something. It is said that there are two main drivers of behavior. In other words, there are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that comes from within, meaning it does not rely on any external stimuli. For example, a child may be intrinsically motivated to finish reading a book for the sake of doing it rather than receiving any sort of award or recognition.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside, meaning that it is reliant on external factors. For example, a child may be extrinsically motivated to read the book because they will receive an award or recognition for finishing it.
While intrinsic motivation should be nurtured early, studies have found the benefits of materialistic extrinsic motivation. Not only do tangible prizes motivate the achievers in a setting such as a home or a classroom, but it also motivates other children to strive for the same goal.
Some parents may feel that motivating children to do tasks with prizes feel like bribery. However, child psychologists state that society itself is built on rewards. Just as adults work to get their salaries, children study to get good grades.
It is important to set up an agreed reward system at home. Children should not expect rewards for every single task – this leads to false senses of entitlement. However, parents should still be equipped with rewards that can help motivate their kids towards positive behavior.
20 Best Rewards for Kids
Here are some of the best rewards for kids that will strongly motivate them to exhibit positive behavior.
Praising children for their behavior and accomplishments is one of the best ways to motivate them. This can take the form of verbal affirmation, such as “I’m proud of you,” or even an increased involvement in daily activities by helping them out with chores.
Letting children play video games is another great way to motivate them. For instance, kids love playing Minecraft so much that they will do anything just to get more game hours.
Snacks are also effective in motivating your child because it makes them feel good and making them happy at the same time. It may not be the healthiest of choices, so make sure to keep their nutrition in mind when using snacks as rewards.
Ice cream is another great treat that can be used as a reward. You don’t have to get them to work too hard just for this one, but you need to make sure to use it sparingly, or else your child will come up with ways on how to get them continuously without any effort.
An excellent way to reward kids is by giving them hot chocolate. Not only does it make their day, but it can also warm up their spirits and lift their moods when they are feeling down.
Kids love stickers, and the more of them they get, it increases their chances to do something extra. For example, if there’s a task that needs to be done, such as cleaning up toys or finishing homework, giving your child one sticker for every milestone achieved will motivate them to complete the job so they can collect all their stickers at once.
Board games such as Snakes and Ladders or chess can be added to the list of fun ways to motivate children because these activities stimulate brain activity and improve memory. They also encourage kids to adopt a strategic approach in problem solving and critical thinking skills, which can lead them to develop self-confidence.
Letting kids watch TV is also a great way to motivate them. This may require parents to monitor what their children are watching or limit the number of hours they spend in front of the screen, but it can be well worth it if done correctly.
Watch a Movie
Watching a movie is also another effective way to motivate children, especially if it’s their favorite film. Access to Netflix is one of the best motivational tools for kids because not only can it be used to keep them occupied, but there are also tons of great movies that can be streamed.
Earn a Toy
If there’s a toy that your child wants, allow them to earn it by doing more chores around the house. This is one of the best rewards for kids that will motivate them while teaching good behavior and making good choices in life. However, this should be used sparingly because they can’t expect a new toy for everything they do.
Earn a Book
An excellent motivation tool for children is giving them a book every time they get good grades on their report cards. This can motivate them to do better in school and work harder towards achieving higher scores so they will be able to read more books.
If your child enjoys reading books, don’t be too stingy to reward them with new books because it would benefit them from reading books anyway.
Have a Sleepover
A sleepover is a fun way to motivate your child because it’s one of their favorite activities. They will do anything just so they can have more nights with friends at home.
Take Them Swimming
Another excellent way to motivate children is to take them swimming. Not only does this activity improve their physical health, but it also encourages social interaction and enhances motor skills at the same time.
Earn a Pet
If your child is asking for a pet, let them earn it by being responsible. Teach them about taking care of an animal so they can be mature enough to handle one when the time comes.
Parents are usually hesitant to get their children pets because of the amount of responsibility needed to take one in. However, parents can start small. For example, they can start by getting them a fish or something to take care of inside the house. Only until they show enough responsibility can they work their way to get a puppy or a kitten.
Cook Their Favorite Meal
Parents can also motivate their children by serving them their favorite meal. This is a great way to make kids feel happy and show appreciation for all the effort they put in at home or school. It’s also another effective tool because parents don’t even have to work hard on this one, but it certainly shows how much you care about your child and what they love.
If possible, take your children on a camping trip for their birthday or another special occasion. It can be fun and rewarding because you will get to spend time with them out in the open under the starry sky while bonding over campfire stories.
Visit a Zoo
Going to a zoo is another great way to motivate kids because it’s an enjoyable activity. It will teach them about different animals and the benefits of protecting wildlife species, which can be a good lesson for their future growth as individuals. Even if it’s not an educational trip, they will surely love seeing their favorite animals.
Visit a Museum
Going to a museum is another great way to motivate children because it’s educational. Not only will they learn about history by standing on the footsteps of the past, but they can also expand their knowledge about science and arts.
These educational activities could be the key to opening up your child’s mind and giving them a broader perspective on life. Museums are especially exciting for children who want to learn about space and dinosaurs!
If your child is craving for something in particular, let them know that they can get it if they’re responsible enough. This way, children will learn about delayed gratification and good behavior because this could also be used as an effective tool to teach self-discipline. Get takeout or fast food with their favorite meal every now and then so they won’t be disappointed.
Day Off from Chores
Another great way to motivate children is by giving them a day off from chores. If they have been very responsible for the past weeks or so, treat them with some time away from their daily obligations around the house and let them relax for a bit.
Tips for Rewarding Kids
The best way to keep children motivated is by being clear about what they need to do and rewarding them for highly positive behavior. Here are a few tips on how you can reward kids in the most effective manner.
Be Specific with Your Rewards
Instead of just saying that if they behave, then they will get their allowance or day off from chores, be specific with what they will get. For instance, if they are responsible for getting their schoolwork done on time without being told to do so twice or more times, then let them watch an episode of their favorite TV show for half an hour at most.
Don’t Make Promises You Cannot Keep
If you’re going to promise something, make sure it’s within your capacity. For example, if they want a new bicycle but the family cannot afford one at that moment in time, then don’t give them false hope by saying yes when you know deep down that this is not possible yet. This way, children will learn about honesty and responsibility.
Use a Reward Chart
If you want to be more organized about your rewards, then using a reward chart can help. This way, they will know what is expected of them and the various ways on how they could get their well-deserved reward for doing something positive in life.