Sometimes we as parents have to not ‘blackmail’ our children into behaving well, but instead offer up some kind of reward in return for good behavior. Children respond well to positive reinforcement; it gives them the cues to remember what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. But it’s not always the case that parents have to cough up the cash or dole out the sweets in order for their kids to feel rewarded.
Seven frugal ways in which parents can reward their children:
1) Later Bedtime
Bedtimes can often turn into a battle of wills between parents and kids. Most children at some point wish they could have a later bedtime because they want to feel more grown up. You can use this to your advantage and allow your child to stay up later than their normal bedtime if they’ve been well-behaved or helped out in some way. If you’re worried about your child being over tired the next day, only allow this as a reward on weekends, when they don’t have to get up early for school.
2) Social Activities
Having one of your child’s friends stay over can be a great reward, so let your child organize a sleepover with a couple of their friends. This is again more of a weekend treat, but you can adapt this reward for the weekdays by letting the friend come over for dinner or organise a little trip to the park with them.
3) Quality Time
You should always make an effort to spend quality time with your children anyway, but for a special treat, you can take your parent hat off for a while and get silly with them. Play a game that will get you both rolling around in fits of giggles. You could turn off all the lights and play hide and seek in the dark, or you can put some blankets over the dining table and turn it into a fort. Nothing will bring a bigger smile to your child’s face than seeing you play like they do.
4) Mini Days Out
You don’t need to go to an expensive theme park to have a great day out, instead try planning a free activity you can reward your child with. Take them on a nature walk and get them to collect something like a rock as a souvenir, or you could set up a mini scavenger hunt and get them to follow the clues that lead to small reward. If you can’t go anywhere, why not set up a little picnic in your garden or have one inside if it’s raining.
5) Let Kids Decorate Their Room
Don’t worry, you don’t have to get paint and new furniture, this reward simply allows your child to move the furniture in their room to wherever they want. This is a great reward because it makes them feel grown up and if your child is quite messy this method may just hold the key to getting them to keep their room tidy. Let them get rid of the babyish things they don’t want anymore and let them pick out some posters for the walls and see if that helps or check out some of these kids room decor ideas.
6) Delayed Rewards
Reward charts are a great way to track behavioral progress in all aspects of your child’s life, from classroom behaviour to how they get on with house chores. Praising your child with a simple sticker on a chart is enough to get them thinking about the consequences of their actions and for busy, cash-strapped parents, mini behaviour rewards like stickers mean you can defer the bigger reward until the weekend, when you have the time and money to do something a bit bigger as a ‘well done.’
7) Get Crafting
Children love to get messy with glue and glitter and will sit there for hours crafting objets d’art that will, at best, end up in the recycling bin the following week. Well as a special treat, why not help your child craft something a little more permanent. You could get some t-shirt markers or iron-on transfers and let them design their own t-shirt. Or you can press some flowers together and frame them for the wall. This kind of reward shows the whole family how well your child behaved and it’ll give you a break from picking up little bits of glitter in the carpet.
What other frugal rewards do you give your children? Share in the comments below.
Guest post by Louise Blake who is a writer and mummy blogger from Bath where she lives with her husband and baby son. She writes about parenting and educational issues for Classroom Carrots.