How to create an effective reward system for kids

How to create an effective reward system for kids

Rewards can be a great way to encourage positive behaviour, such as helping with chores, lending a hand when someone is struggling, or just doing something nice for someone. The absence of rewards can also provide a contrast when children are behaving appropriately.


One of the best things about reward systems is flexibility. You can keep changing them as your child grows up, meaning that you can always give positive reinforcement for good behaviour. Whether you have a young child who doesn’t want to share their toys or a teenager who tries to avoid doing their share of tasks around the home, positive reinforcement can help.

How do you create an effective reward system?

There are two main aspects to a reward system. First of all, your child should be able to see how good behaviour means progress towards a reward. Secondly, the reward should be something that motivates them – and there are plenty of ways you can reward your kids.


Showing visible progress in a reward system is simple. There are a variety of techniques for displaying progress, whether with coloured bars or stickers on a paper chart or setting tasks through the GoHenry app. 

Using the GoHenry app, kids can tick off tasks when they complete them, which means you and your children can see all their progress.


Picking suitable rewards is usually quite easy. All you need to do is figure out what will encourage your children to do their set tasks. The reward will depend on the age of your kids as well as their individual interests. One common reward is pocket money – and there are benefits to giving your kids pocket money – but not all rewards have to be financial. You could also reward your child with extra screen time, a later bedtime, a visit to the park, or going to see a film or live performance. Find out what your child really enjoys and what kind of treat will motivate them, and then let them know how they can earn it.


No matter what age your child is, you can use the same basic system for rewards. Assign a value for different tasks, whether that’s a monetary value or a certain number of points. Once they've earned enough money or enough points, then they can exchange or 'spend' them on a reward. If you decide to give your children pocket money through a pocket money app like GoHenry, then they can spend what they've earned how they like.

Reward system for 6 – 9 year olds

For younger children, a simple reward system often works well. At this age, it's particularly important for them to see the effect of their good behaviour right away. If you delay in rewarding your child, they might not fully remember what they got rewarded for, which can make it harder to reinforce good habits.


It’s also worthwhile to remember not to overwhelm your child if they're very young. Do make sure that your child knows exactly what they did right to earn a reward. A task list can be beneficial here, as it clearly shows them what they can do to receive rewards.


At this age, the main thing is to impart a positive association with doing what they're asked to do. This means that if you want to give pocket money for tasks, you might want to give a small set amount – for example, 50p per task complete. 

Reward system for pre-teens

Pre-teens can usually handle more complex reward systems, which means that you can start giving tasks and chores a value system. This means that your tween could earn a bigger reward for washing your car compared with a smaller reward for a daily chore like making their bed. 


You can find out more here about how much you should pay your child for doing chores.


Again, rewards can either be financial – where you assign each task a cash reward – or you can give rewards that don’t cost money. Tweens can often still be motivated by having a later bedtime on the weekend or getting to play games for an extra hour. 

Reward system for teens

Many teens may feel they’ve outgrown the reward systems of their childhood years, and this is generally a good thing. By this age, teens will want to avoid sticker charts, and they’ll want to use something a bit more flexible – and a bit less obvious if their friends come to visit. This means that a value system can be great for teens, as they’ll get to see how the time and effort they put into their chores earn them money or points.


If you want to give your teenager pocket money, a reward system with different values for different tasks can work very well to keep them motivated.  There's plenty of guidance on how much pocket money to give by age and chore. Of course, money isn’t the only way to reward as teens still respond well to treats such as hosting a sleepover or organising a special outing.

Set rewards with GoHenry

The GoHenry app makes it simple to set tasks for your children. You can assign each child a customised list, and they can tick off tasks as they complete them. This is a great way to keep track of tasks, and it can help your older children feel motivated to complete their chores.

The important thing to remember is that the main aim of a reward system is to encourage positive behaviour. 
Written by GoHenry Published May 18, 2022 ● 6 min read