5 Ways to Incentivize Positive Behavior from Your Kids

Remember the morning before when you arrived late from your office and the house was completely outside down? Paint spread over everywhere or the food from the fridge all on the ground? Well, this is just one incident.

Many parents get really frustrated when their child does something wrong or messy, yet they don’t take the time to work on such behavior at the right age.

I will be covering everything, from why positive behavior from a kid is needed, the importance of a child reward system at home and how to reward kids for good behavior.

Is positive behavior reinforcement important?

Children don’t always behave the way we want them to, whether it’s eating dirt or just hitting some classmates. Since bad habits usually start forming at a young age, you have to reinforce the right behavior since then.

Bad habits can range from as small as not dusting the bed before sleeping to stealing or violent acts. So, yes reinforcement of positive behavior is an important concern. Read how to help a child with behavioral problems at school?

Why the child reward system?

Although there are multiple ways to reinforce positive behavior, child reward systems can work wonders where other methods like rational explaining and scolding fail.

Such as problem with rationally talking to children at a young age is that children find it difficult to understand the reasoning. Like asking them to sit straight because of posture problems or read more for vocab.

Or resorting to scolding, including physical reprimand, which might lead to short term results and excessive reliance on only such might in the long run damage child’s mental health and relationship with parents.

A Reward system is hence more impactful for children because children can understand rewards. Just like you will work as per your supervisor’s instructions for that higher pay, kids replicate the same.

This is because human motivation lies greatly in rewards. The reward is a way to say ‘Good Job’ for a certain act. It could be anything your child considers compensation for their behavior or will feel good about. If you get a reward for an act, you are likely to do it again.

To implement an effective reward system, you need to understand your child needs to understand what rewards to use, focus reward on efforts rather than achievement and notice tiniest of improvements in your child to see overall results.

5 child reward system ideas:

Now that the whys are out of the way, let’s discuss very useful child reward system ideas that work. While they may not be the best ones, these have shown good results.

1) Praise:

One of the most powerful rewards. Children admire and respect their adults, and even a small word of praise can make them happy. This is because it leads to the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and hence impacts motivation and positivity.

Imagine your daughter’s smile when she got a teacher’s praise for a drawing in a class. Why did it make her feel good and do another drawing?


Moreover, if you scold or reprimand kids often, their confidence and the mental state takes a hit. They become anxious or fearful around you, might lie about acts, and hence your relationship is affected.

While sometimes a small scolding works, make sure to praise your child even more for the good things they do. This will make them feel comfortable around you while learning the right behavior.  Read how to build an effective relationship with your children.

2) Activity:

Children love new games or different activities. These can be as little as playing Ludo with them or playing dress-up to going camping.

Sit with your child and list all the activities they want to do. You can add new activities they might enjoy or learn from. You can link these rewards in a way that there is an activity ladder.

For instance, if your kid completes all homework and feeds the dog once a day for a week, then every alternate night play dress-up. After two weeks of this behavior, go to an amusement park your kid loves.

This way you start from smaller activities and keep going higher as per their behavior thereby turning those behaviors inhabits. You can use various combinations to make it really fun.

3) Favorite food:

One of my favorite memories of childhood was getting ice-cream or getting a cake. Food is a great form of reward, especially at a young age. Just like activities, you can make a food reward ladder. Try to focus on healthy and yummy home-made food treats, than store-bought ones.

For instance, every 2 days you can give them chocolate milk and once a week bakes a cake for watering the indoor small plants.

Making a schedule would help as home-made food treats would require time and planning. You can include your kid even in the process of a fun time and polishing your bond.

4) Gifts:

This term encompasses everything, whether store-bought items or handcrafted ones. Children usually love getting presents. Their favorite toy story figure, Barbie dolls and so on.

You can also focus on toy sets which are instructional like doctor’s equipment or kid sewing machine.

Or invest in art supplies. Art is a way to express yourself and it stimulates both sides of the brain. So, kids who start using their artistic abilities early on can benefit from improved memory, attention and focus.

Hand-made gifts are also an amazing idea if you are short on budget or believe in sustainability. You can sew clothes for your kid’s doll or make a play tent using bedsheets. Multiple DIYs toys tutorials are available online.

5) Privilege:

Granting extra rights or privileges is also another way of rewarding. It can be for anything, given there is no danger like too much of TV access.

For instance, cleaned bed for 3 weeks without fail and your child gets the privilege of watching TV 1 hour more or reading little sister an informative bedtime story so getting 2 ice-creams for that week instead of 1.

This reward system can be seen as a kind of an extension of the above reward systems. You get a little more reward for every bit better next step. Though you have to be careful not to produce jealousy between siblings or hate.


So, yes positive behavior reinforcement for children is an important task. Even more important is the method you go with. The child reward system has produced better results, but care must be taken for this too.

Rewards shouldn’t be seen as bribes. While giving rewards, try not to focus the child too much on being greedy on rewards. Rather, use family time and simpler words to convey why good behavior is important to time to time. As kids get older, use more rational reasoning to convey the message.

Alisha Brown

She is not only passionate about writing but also has been an animal rights activist since she was young. She started a social welfare venture at her university 3 years ago, consisting of full-time university students as volunteers who work to raise empathy for animals. She is in her last semester to complete her Bachelors in Accounting and Finance. She loves reading poetry, singing, stargazing, cycling, playing different sports, being close to family and just exploring every new opportunity that comes her way. Being a person who has always had so much to say and write, she started her writing journey and continues to do so pouring her heart and soul in it!

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