Developing a reward system can help encourage the behaviour you want to see from your children, like being polite, generous, and helpful around the home. For maximum success, you'll want to make sure that the reward system is one that works well for you and the young people in your life.
How does a reward system for kids work?
Positive reinforcement can be an effective way of making sure your children feel good about doing certain things you expect from them. But sometimes, recognition or praise is not enough. Rewards can have a strong motivational effect on children to encourage them to adopt behaviours that you'd like to see.
Reward systems tend to work best if they're tailored to the child’s age and mindset. If you use reward systems well, you can direct your child’s behaviour and help them feel enthusiastic about producing what you want from them. Once your child has absorbed the lessons that you wanted them to learn from the reward system, you can slowly phase it out or start to work on other goals.
Why you should use a reward system for kids
Introducing a reward system can be a powerful way to get your kids to do chores or to encourage other habits. It can also be helpful in discouraging your child from unwanted behaviour. For example, if your child refuses to get dressed in time for school, a reward system might help them to think differently about this. Reward systems can also help teach a range of valuable lessons about responsibility, teamwork, and how achieving set goals can bring rewards.
Reward systems for kids aged 6–9
At this age, you may not have a large number of age-appropriate chores that you want your kids to do, but you might want to encourage them to carry out simple tasks like making their bed, helping to clear the dinner table, or tidying up their toys. Chore apps to track progress can assist in a visual representation of this, with rewards for completing certain sections.
- Sticker charts – Also known as star charts, these are charts that you put up in a prominent place such as the living room or your child’s bedroom. Each time they complete an agreed task or behaviour, you add a sticker to the chart.
- Chore apps and charts – Chore apps can be a bit more structured than sticker charts, which can help your child understand what they need to do. Your kid can read their chore app and tick off tasks when they are finished. This way, your child can check what is expected of them while giving them the freedom to do their chores in their own time.
- Routine chart – Some young people thrive on routine. A routine chart can outline what kinds need to do and when. Depending on the child's age, you might want to use pictures instead of complex sentences to show what they should be doing.
Reward systems for pre-teens
When your children are a bit older, you might like them to complete more complex chores such as helping with the washing up or cleaning your car. You might also want to discourage certain behaviours like disrupting class at school or trying to avoid their homework. Rewards can range from a later bedtime to outings and pocket money.
- Weekly behaviour chart – You can use positive language to frame the behaviours you want to see, such as finishing their homework on time, with rewards given at the end of the week.
- Chore apps – These can still be helpful with many pre-teens. This list can visualise what you need them to do, and they only get a reward when they do it. At this age you can often be more hands-off with the chore app and only check it once or twice a week if you want to.
- Routine charts – For this age group a routine chart could include more specific timings, and you may not need to remind your child to check they have completed any time-sensitive tasks.
Reward systems for teens
Teens might need more individual reward systems, as the behaviours you want to see might be more complex, including more demanding chores and possibly education-focused goals.
- Token system – This is where your teen gets a set amount of tokens for completing chores. Different chores can have different values. The tokens can be traded for rewards.
- Behaviour contract – This is a written contract where you state what behaviour your teen needs to demonstrate in order to get a reward. For example, you might write down that they are allowed a later curfew if they do all their homework.
- Chore apps – Since most teens have smartphones, a chore app is an obvious choice for most teens.
How to reward kids and teens
While pocket money is a common reward, this is not the only way to reward your kids for doing chores. Ask your children what rewards would motivate them – it might be a treat they enjoy, a later bedtime, more screen time, or a small toy. Make sure the tasks they complete are worth the reward you give them. If you choose to give pocket money, this can be an excellent way to show how hard work is valued.
How can GoHenry help with rewarding kids & teens for doing chores?
GoHenry lets you set up daily tasks. These can range from completing chores, to doing homework, or displaying good behaviour throughout the day. Your child can tick off the tasks, and once you have approved them, they will get paid. You can even give different reward values for different paid tasks.
Paid tasks are a great way to teach your kids about how hard work can earn them money to treat themselves and help them begin their financial education. Our in-app Money Missions are also fun ways to teach kids about finances. With Money Missions, kids can watch videos, take quizzes, and earn badges that increase their financial knowledge. These activities cover a range of essential subjects from finance basics, to saving, budgeting, investing, and more.
Combined with paid tasks, Money Missions can help ensure that your child understands the relationship between work and money – and learn how to save or spend the pocket money they earn.