A few things to bear in mind, when it comes to reward charts…
🗓 Rewards change behaviour over time
Don’t expect big swings in the way kids do things right away. Alan E. Kazdin, the Yale psychology and child psychiatry professor, and author of The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child advocates ‘repeated practice’, arguing that, the more a child does something, the more that behaviours becomes part of an everyday routine.
😊 Rewards can boost self esteem
As a recent article published by the US public health agency, the CDC points out, rewards are better for children’s self esteem. If you’re constantly saying ‘no’ or ‘stop’, you may leave your child with a negative sense of self worth. Rewards, by contrast, make children feel better about themselves.
❤️ Rewards can bring you closer together
In the same piece, the CDC also points out that rewarding children can bring parents and kids closer, as they both enjoy getting something they like. You get the table laid for dinner every night, they get an hour of screen time, and you both feel you’ve achieved something together.
🍫 Watch out for food rewards
You might want to reconsider giving too many chocolate bars or other sweet treats as rewards. A recent Dutch research paper suggested that food rewards can lead to the development of unhealthy eating habits, such as emotional eating or fussiness around food, so watch out for this.
🤓 Rewards work best with boring or difficult, but necessary tasks
You don’t offer rewards to kids for things they already do for fun. Instead, rewards are best used to ease the pain of things that are tough, necessary to learn and boring, such as acquiring the ability to read basic words, or good table manners. Rewards, according to Virginia Shiller, a clinical psychologist at Yale university, can serve as “a bridge to give them a reason to try it—and hopefully, they’ll eventually feel competent and successful, and that will take the place of the rewards.”