Make sure the reward your child is working for is desirable. It is okay to change the reward if the current one is no longer desirable. For younger kids, it can be fun to draw or print a picture so they can see the reward they are working toward. If the reward is not desirable, your child is less likely to work hard.
Let your child know how and when they will earn the reward. For example, IF you do clean your room, THEN you will earn dessert after dinner. And make sure to follow through with their reward.
Waiting a week can be too long and not rewarding for your child. Rewarding the smaller steps will help your child learn and practice positive habits and behaviors more often.
Make sure that the behavior is achievable. If your child is not able to reach the goal, they likely will stop trying. There may be some days where they don’t earn the reward, and that is okay. Praise their effort and remind them they can try again tomorrow. Come up with a plan together how they can earn their reward tomorrow.
When you reward effort, your child will continue to try hard. Although outcomes are not always what we expect, the effort and habit put into situation will help them further in life. For example, reward your child for positive study habits over grades.
Michele Flynn, M.A. is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is Board Certified in Neurofeedback. She has a variety of experience and/or training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Play Therapy.
Her passion is working with individuals and families to overcome difficult seasons, barriers, life circumstances, and diagnoses, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, “difficult behaviors”, as well as other mental health diagnoses. Her ultimate goal in each session is to provide a safe and supportive environment to help clients feel respected while working and growing toward their full potential.