Does this sound familiar? You want to entice your child to do something they may not want to do on their own like cleaning up their room or eating their vegetables. So, you decide to motivate them with a reward if they do it – a sugary treat! Oh, watch how quickly they get it done, but was it worth it?
It’s a trap we all fall into – rewarding with food. It seems innocent and gets the job done. Also, they are just kids right? Shouldn’t they be allowed to have treats?
The problem with rewarding with food is that they may consume too much sugar and also eat when they aren’t hungry just to reward themselves. When you reward good behaviour with food too often, kids will equate positive actions with certain unhealthy treats. This will create an emotional connection to food and feeling good when eating unhealthy food, which could lead to unhealthy eating habits and food addiction.
So, what’s a parent to do? Instead of rewarding with food, try this!
Reward #1: Praise
Communicate your appreciation by telling them how you feel about their behaviour and good actions. Encourage them by thanking them for what they do and motivate with your words.
Reward #2: Fun Activity
When your child does something positive and helpful, reward their behaviour with a fun activity! This could be a favourite game of theirs or a fun arts and crafts project they enjoy. They will learn that good behaviour will lead to fun times!
Reward #3: Reward Gift
Another great way to encourage good behaviour is to work toward a goal. If your child really wants to have a certain toy or book, you can tell them that you will contribute to their “Reward Gift” by adding money to save for it. That way, they will work towards their reward by doing positive things around the house like cleaning up or helping out.
Rewards can be helpful when teaching kids about good behaviour and good actions. Get creative in the way you reward them to inspire great things!
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