Developing a reward system can help encourage the behavior 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 kids 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 behaviors 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 behavior 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 behavior. 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.
Child reward system ideas
Looking for ways to reward your kids? Whether you want to use allowance, screen time, or treats, we have plenty of ideas:
Allowance reward system ideas
Giving your kids additional money in their allowance can help teach them the importance of earning money. Here are some ways to make an allowance reward system:
- Star jar - This is where you give your child a jar to fill up with little stars whenever they complete a chore. You can find paper or foam stars at most craft stores. Your child will get a real sense of achievement from watching their jar fill up, and when it fills up, they get a reward.
- Cash points in for allowance - You can easily assign different chores to have different values in points. Then when your kid earns enough points, they can trade it in for some allowance.
- Chore wheel for rewards - There are always chores that no one really enjoys doing, but a chore wheel can be a simple way to deal with these. If your child wants to earn some extra rewards, get them to spin the chore wheel and do the chore it lands on. Then they get a bit of extra money in their weekly allowance.
- Household currency system - Getting an allowance is great for things your kids want to buy, but you can have your own household currency system too. If your kid does chores they can earn household money that they can 'spend' on things around the house, like extra screen time, getting to choose a movie for movie night, or getting to stay up late. You can even have your kids make little paper household dollars as currency!
- A simple but effective chore chart - Chore charts are a classic way of keeping track of chores and rewards because they're simple and easy to follow. You can use the chart to track how many chores your kid has done, and when they fill up a row they get a reward.
- Chore apps – 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.
- Coupons for cash - Like the household currency, this lets your child build up rewards and then trade them in, only this time they get coupons that they can trade for cash. You can even give different coupons different values, and this makes it a great way to help your kid get more comfortable with mathematics and counting currency.
Screen-time reward system ideas
Screen time is a big motivator for a lot of kids, thanks to games, TV, and other fun ways to use screens. Here are ways to use screen time as a reward:
- Screen-time stamps - Just like coffee shop stamp books, you can make your kid a booklet where they get stamps for every chore they do. Then, when they collect 5 stamps (or whatever number you want), they get some extra screen time.
- Clean for screen time - If you want a simple system, you can give each chore a timeframe where they have to complete it, and then they get that much screen time in return. Plus the "clean for screen(time)" rhyme is a hit with kids!
- Screen time lottery - Another fun way to allocate screen time for chores is to have a lottery. Each time they finish a chore they get to pick another ticket out of the lottery bowl, which gives them a random amount of screen time.
- Screen time reward store - Just like with buying other rewards, you can give your child points for completing chores and then let them buy screen time from you. You might want to give different types of screen time at different costs. For example, watching documentaries might be the cheapest while playing video games might cost the most points.
Favorite treat reward system ideas
If you don't want to use money or screen time, another great way to motivate kids is with various treats:
- Coupons for rewards - Coupons are a great way to let your kids trade in chores for rewards. Plus it means that they can save the reward until they want it, but they still have a physical representation of the reward, which is great to remind them of all the hard work they've done.
- Points for rewards - Points systems work great, especially for older kids as it gives a set value to different chores and lets them save up for specific rewards.
- Reward scratch cards - Scratch cards are a great way to make rewards more fun. Everyone likes a surprise, and you can have different types of rewards on the scratch cards you make. This can be really great for motivating your kids to keep doing chores to get more exciting rewards.
- 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.
- Weekly behavior chart – You can use positive language to frame the behaviors you want to see, such as finishing their homework on time, with rewards given at the end of the week.
- Reward bingo - Bingo is great fun, and combining this with a reward chart can be a great way to make your kids feel more excited about the reward process.
- Reward catalog - Having a catalog of rewards lets your child see what possible rewards they can get. This can be a great way to motivate them to save up for specific rewards. This method is a good way to teach them about saving and not spending their reward points straight away.
- Weekly reward awards - If you've got multiple kids (or if you want to include adults in the rewards) you can have a weekly or monthly reward award. This can be awarded to the person who has done the most chores in that time period, and then they get rewarded with their favorite treat.
- Token system – This is where your kid gets a set amount of tokens for completing chores. Different chores can have different values. The tokens can be traded for rewards.
How to reward kids and teens
While extra allowance 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 extra allowance 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 has loads of benefits for parents, including letting you set up daily tasks in Paid Chores. These can range from completing chores, to doing homework, or displaying good behavior throughout the day. Your child can tick off chores, and once you have approved them, they will get paid. You can even give different reward values for different Paid Chores.
Paid Chores 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 allowance they earn.
Get started with GoHenry today to see how our prepaid debit card can help with chores and rewards.