When it comes to activities that children love and those that they find little to no interest in, figuring out what motivates your child takes time and patience. It involves getting to know your child, learning what his or her interests are, and what they would be willing to do to achieve something they want. 

Observation is key. And it’s about finding the middle ground and taking notice of your child’s needs and wants.

When a child builds an intrinsic motivation toward working on an engaging activity, rewards may no longer be necessary to motivate them. In cases where tapping into extrinsic motivation is concerned, there are a few things that can be done. One of which is giving rewards and incentives to your child. 

Rewards and Incentives are great for establishing routines and promoting positive behavior. The two don’t always come easily, but where there’s trouble establishing routines, rewards for kids can help encourage building them.

Rewards are a powerful tool when used correctly.  It’s important to note that there’s a fine line between bribing your child with a quick treat versus teaching them to aim for a goal and work toward it by taking small daily steps.

The former just conditions your child to expect something in return for doing what you want. The latter teaches them to work for an incentive through patience and perseverance. 

There are a few other methods you can try. Here are some of the ways you can use rewards to effectively motivate your child to do tasks that matter on a larger scale. 

Use Reward Charts

Rewards charts help keep track of your child’s progress.

It teaches them the value of hardwork and staying consistent. Letting your child see their progress visually is a fantastic way to encourage more participation from them. It can be used to keep track when correcting negative behavior and promoting positive behavior in kids. It can also be used when establishing and building a routine.

Add milestones and challenges, accompanied by occasional rewards, as they move forward.

Be sure to update these charts as they grow older and as soon as they are able to surpass each challenge easier. When things become too easy that the challenge is no longer there, take it as a cue to nudge them a little to get them out of their comfort zone and keep creating milestones which are just a tad bit more challenging than the previous ones. 

Prepare a Reward Menu

If the reward chart acts as a tracking tool, a reward menu helps keep things interesting for them.

Enlist your child’s help in working on a menu of rewards. This can include toys or other small items they wish they could have, free time for play, screen time, snacks and treats, or anything else that may motivate your child. Solicit their input as well.

Rewards don’t have to come with a price tag. Even a special privilege can help them take a huge leap toward a goal.

Feeding your child’s cravings by participating in challenging tasks

So long as you’re not spoiling them, children are motivated by overcoming challenging tasks.

That both helps boost their self-esteem and teaches them that things don’t always come easily. Hard work and dedication is important to help them achieve the things they want.

Rewards and incentives can take on various forms. Here are a few more ideas you may want to include on the list:

  • New, inexpensive items such as stationery, stickers, small toys, etc.
  • Being allowed to play with toys and games they already own but which are usually put aside for special times.
  • Special privileges such as more time for internet and mobile games, extra TV time, sleepovers, or choosing meals.
  • Money in small amounts. 
  • Activities like swimming, going to the playground, movies, or going out for ice cream.
  • Special time with parents such as cooking meals together, baking cookies, getting an extra bedtime story, and one-on-one playtime.

Use Point Systems

Point systems help you and your child keep track of everything. Kids earn a set number of points for every task they complete. Either you can set the number of points or it can be negotiated between you and your child.

They can use the points they earn to “buy” rewards from the menu.

This has the added benefit of also teaching them the fundamentals of financial literacy. They learn all about earning, saving, budgeting, and the cost of things.

Create a tracking chart with a legend that specifies the number of points each task is worth. Another section should indicate the number of points needed for each item on the reward menu.

You can also create a graph to track their progress. This gives them a quick overview of where they are in the game and how far along they are until they can use their points to purchase a desired reward.

Looking for a preschool that understands how motivating a child works? Cornerstone Learning Center provides a positive learning environment where your child is able to thrive. We combine positive reinforcement with top quality education, ensuring a strong balance for every child at our school. To learn more about Cornerstone Learning Center and what we have to offer, feel free to call us at (901) 672-8787 or visit our website at learnatcornerstone.com