Suddenly distance learning? These Reward Ideas for Kids will help you set up a reward system where your child can earn items and activities that motivate them!
Well guys, here we are. Learning from home. I know this is hard. A lot of you are working from home full time, and trying to balance distance learning at the same time. This is tough, but we can do it. I promise.
I’m going to step into my professional teacher space here, and to talk about HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS TO DO THE WORK. That’s an issue, right? They complain, they refuse, they whine. They just won’t do it.
Let’s talk about motivation. Brain science style. There are two type of motivation, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation means you do something because it brings you joy. You enjoy it. It make you feel good. Extrinsic means you do something for some type of external validation (a reward, praise, a paycheck). THIS article explains motivation in children very well. Here’s the thing, no one ENJOYS work. Would you do your job without a paycheck? That money is your extrinsic motivation. At least at first. Eventually pride in your craft or job comes into play. But at first? Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t work without some type of reward or payment. Well school work? That’s your child’s job. And they don’t want to do it either. Yes, we want our kids to love learning. Yes, we want it to be fun. But, it’s still WORK. Learning is hard. New skills are hard. And doing those things while you’re at your house instead of in your usual learning environment? Extra hard. I mean, you’re trying to work from home all of a sudden right? Think of what an adjustment that’s been. Your kids feel the same exact way. So we’re going to set a system in place filled with some great rewards ideas for kids. These will help. And remember, success and positive feelings have trajectory. The more successful and positive your children feel ABOUT their school work, the more likely they are to KEEP doing it.
One thing to note: before you start a reward system, you want to be sure your child CAN do the work assigned. How do you know? ASK THEM. Observe. Are they truly struggling with an assignment? Because that’s a different issue. No one can do the impossible. If that’s the case, please reach out to their teacher to come up with a plan to support them academically. If your child has an IEP, please reach out to their team (and I highly suggest asking THESE questions about how to support them).
Reward Ideas for Kids
Ok, now on to the reward ideas for kids. Ideally, you have a daily routine in place (this daily routine chart will help get one set up). As your children go through their routine (you should have a separate sheet and set of tasks for EACH child)…..they’ll earn things. Not breaks. Breaks, play and meals are requirements. You don’t earn those, that’s a part of a child’s everyday norm. We’re talking EXTRA things. Things that are motivating for YOUR kid. They can be items, activities, or privileges.
My suggestion? Use this printable to make a menu of reward ideas for kids. Each day as you fill out your daily routine chart, your child can pick their favorite reward ideas for kids off the menu. It’s divided into three sections: quality time, choices and items. Why? Because we don’t want to start a crazy token system. Kids don’t need to earn little trinkets EVERY time they do something. Are items ok sometimes? Sure. But quality time with a family member is a reward, so is picking the movie for the night. Balance is key here.
A few suggestions for each:
Quality Time: pillow fight (this is Lydia’s fav lately), puzzle building with a parent, reading a book together, baking a recipe of choice, doing an art project together, playing a board game, going on a one on one walk, family parade, dress up time, having a tea party, basketball game, running through the sprinklers together, science experiments together, earning video game time together, extra screen time
Choices: favorite dinner request, pick the family movie, choose mom’s outfit, choice hour (they pick everything you do for an hour), walking route (they chose which way to go), pick a snack, pick dessert, play dj (make a playlist of favorites)
I hope that these reward ideas for kids are helpful. One more thing, remember that praise IS A REWARD. Make it rain compliments. Make a BIG deal about the work your child DOES do. I promise, it will make a difference.