Nanny 911: Reward Good Behavior
As a parent, it's sometimes easier to notice and react to our children's negative behavior and not pay enough attention when our kids are actually being good. But in order to raise good kids, every family needs a reward system. If you don't like that word, let's use "incentive." (Not bribe!) Honestly, all children really want is to please us, and they need praise and encouragement to know that their behavior has made us happy.
Your challenge: Reward your kid's good behavior.
This should be easy, right? Still, it wouldn't be a Nanny Challenge if there wasn't a little homework for you. So ...
Here are the Nannies' Reward Tips:
- Establish a reward system. Children love being able to see results. Nanny Stella and I use marble jars, a magnet board or a sticker board. But be creative! Maybe your kid is really into pirates. So use a treasure chest, with the rewards being small baubles and trinkets. Or maybe your daughter is obsessed with princesses. So then each reward could be jewels for her crown (which you can then make together once she's earned enough)!
- Be clear about what the rewards are for. Put the tasks your kids need to do and the behavior you expect on a chart (you can use a piece of cardboard or a large sheet of paper). Point out what your children will get rewarded for: brushing their teeth, cleaning up after themselves, sitting on the potty—whatever good behavior you want to encourage. Use pictures for young children.
- Put yourself on the chart, too! Mom and Dad can also jump on the good-behavior train. After all, since we're establishing the family House Rules, that means you, too! Besides, kids love to call Daddy out if, say, he doesn't put his dish in the sink, or if Mom forgets to brush her teeth. (Admit it, you've done it!)
- Keep the rewards in plain sight. Part of the incentive is to keep a steady, visual reminder of what your child has accomplished. But they should be kept out of reach. For example, put the pirate treasure chest high on a shelf. Or put stickers in a clear case on top of the fridge.
- Hand out random rewards. A reward system isn't just about catching them behaving or misbehaving. Sometimes, you can reward your kid just because. So drop a jewel into the princess box, out of the blue, just because. This teaches a lesson that being a good person by itself has value, and it will keep your child motivated and excited to keep being a good kid, and also to think outside the (reward) box for ways to please you.
So remember: Reward your kid's good behavior. Be as creative as you like with your reward system. Spell out the types of behavior and chores that will be rewarded. And you be sure to get involved too! Once again, consistency is key here. Don't forget about your reward system or it won't work. As your children grow up and House Rules evolve, so can the rewards.
Happy rewarding! And my question to you is: What good behavior did you reward your child today? Was it for good behavior big and small? And more importantly, what was your kid's reaction? Be sure to share your tales in the comments below!
Check out these other challenges:
- Challenge 1: Prepare for Meltdowns
- Challenge 2: Stop Whining and Screaming
- Challenge 3: Say "No" to Saying "No"
- Challenge 4: Get Your Kids to Clean Up
- Challenge 6: Establish House Rules
- Challenge 7: Work on Your Most Challenging Challenge
- Challenge 8: Take a Mommy or Daddy Time Out
- Challenge 9: Giving Your Kid Compliments
- Challenge 10: Acknowledge Mistakes and Move On
- Challenge 11: Say Please and Thank You
- Challenge 12: Work on This Week's Most Challenging Challenge
- Challenge 13: Pick Your Battles
- Challenge 14: Learning to Listen
- Challenge 15: Get Your Kids Talking
- Challenge 16: Keep Your Cool
- Challenge 17: Use a Timer
- Challenge 18: Give Effective Time Outs