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Ideas for Rewards & Incentives for Kids

by Susan Revermann, studioD

It’s possible to have a child that enjoys helping you around the house, but sometimes you need to offer some incentive or rewards for his cooperation and participation. The trick is figuring out what motivates your child and offering these items after he completes tasks. Properly chosen incentives will spark interest and give him something exciting to work toward.

Praise and Gestures

Rewards and incentives don’t have to be material objects to be effective. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the best approaches you can take is to catch your child being good and offer kind words, smiles, high fives, pats on the back and hugs as a reward. Do this frequently and be genuine. The more you reinforce his positive behavior, the more motivated he’ll be to continue those kinds of behavior choices.

Immediate Rewards

A younger child is motivated by immediate rewards. This gives him instant gratification for a job well done. Stickers and a nontoxic ink stamp on his hand are a hit with the young crowd. You can also put together a small box of trinkets to offer your little one, such as plastic rings, toy cars or temporary tattoos. This box of goodies is ideal for a child who is potty training. It also works as incentive to turn your kiddo into a little cleaning helper.


Sticker charts work well for children up to early school age, and a point system works better for older kids, according to AAP. Make a chart and assign a point system. For instance, for every chore completed, your child gets a sticker or one point to put on the chart. After five stars or points, he can get a new book. Ten can be a movie night or a friend sleepover. Fifteen could be an arcade adventure or a new toy. Allow your child to help decide what rewards and incentives he wants to work toward. This will make it more meaningful and make him more likely to work toward those goals.


An allowance can be quite motivating for kids. Offer this monetary incentive in exchange for daily chores or good behavior. KidsHealth.org points out that an allowance can teach your child how to implement money management skills, make money decisions, deal with limited resources and saving. Fifty cents to a dollar per year of age per week is sufficient. Help your kiddo out by suggesting that he save his allowance for a coveted toy or game. Set up a weekly payday and be consistent about paying up for money earned.

About the Author

Susan Revermann is a professional writer with educational and professional experience in psychology, research and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in psychology, focused on research, motivational behavior and statistics. Revermann also has a background in art, crafts, green living, outdoor activities and overall fitness, balance and well-being.

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