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Reward Systems for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Preschoolers and Kindergarteners are pros at pushing the limits to see how far they can get before Mom or Dad either gives them what they want or hands out punishment-- meaning that tantrums and other negative behaviors are almost certain to occur. For parents looking to break their children of bad behaviors in a positive and effective way, reward systems are great parenting tools.

Using Reward Charts

Many young children crave attention and don't differentiate between the positive and the negative, which is why so many resort to bad behavior. But positive attention in the form of praise and small rewards is of course more desirable, making it a great tool for parents trying to weed out the bad behavior. Reward Systems are wonderful for young children, but there are a few things that parents should keep in mind when implementing a system for their little ones.

  • Reward Charts of all types exist for little ones, such as behavior charts, chore charts, progress charts, star charts, sticker charts, and more. Part of the success of implementing a reward system for young children is to make it fun and to change it up frequently. Use charts with different themes and colors to keep your child interested in learning new behaviors.
  • Expectations must be clear. Children need concise direction when it comes to behavior. If they know exactly what is expected of them it is of course easier for them to behave correctly. Whether you are trying to combat tantrums or trying to enforce basic "please" and "thank you" habits, if your child knows exactly what you want out of them they will able to achieve it faster.
  • Make rewards fun. Tracking progress is important, as it provides a bit of instant gratification for children. Implementing new behaviors can take a while to achieve, and celebrating the little accomplishments along the way can boost your child's enthusiasm and keep little ones motivated to reach their end goal. A great way to do this is with a reward chart or sticker chart-- one that is colorful, interactive, and relevant to your child's interests.
  • Get your child involved. Instead of setting the rewards, let your kids choose what they want out of two or three choices. This will make them feel more in control and motivate them to continue progressing.

Positive Parenting and Praise

While of course children want material rewards for a job well done, the praise of a parent should never be held back in lieu of an extra cookie at snack time or a few extra minutes playing. By using praise as a primary motivator and only offering material rewards for reaching important milestones, the reward system you create will strengthen your relationship with your child and ensure that Mom or Dad's hugs are just as valued as any other treat.