Let's Talk Rewards and Consequences

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We are about two months into the school year and that initial “new school year motivation” may have worn off by now. It’s tough to keep kids motivated. A system of rewards and consequences could be just the encouragement your child needs to keep things moving in the right direction. Here are some ideas for putting your own system in place.

  1. Understanding rewards.

    Rewards are not payoffs. It is something your child earns for doing something correctly that you’ve asked them to do. Think about using tangible and intangible rewards. Tangible rewards can include stickers, treats, small toys, TV or screen time (in measured amounts) or a special dessert. Intangible rewards include positive feedback and acknowledgement: “You did a really great job organizing your notebooks and putting everything in your backpack this morning, I’m really proud of you for thinking ahead”.

  2. Let your child voice their opinion.

    Letting your child weigh in on what his reward will be can make it feel more appealing. Try creating a “rewards menu” with your child. If your child appears less motivated after a couple of weeks, consider and discuss switching up the reward to re-engage him.

  3. Understanding consequences.

    Consequences are not punishments, although they can feel like it sometimes. Consequences are a good way for your children to learn about cause and effect. This knowledge can help shape their behavior. For the most part, consequences should involve withholding the agreed upon reward. For example, if it was agreed that your child gets to watch a 30-minute TV show after completing all of her homework but she did not finish the homework, she cannot watch the TV show.

  4. Sync home and school rewards systems.

    Consider speaking with your child’s teacher about the rewards system you’ve put in place at home and how the system can also be implemented at school. Make sure the rewards and consequences are consistent for both systems. This can increase your child’s potential for reaching success.

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Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at danaaussenberg.com or email dana@danaaussenberg.com.