When I am looking for a way to reward my children for good behavior, the first thing I think of is ice cream. This thought is followed quickly by a Slurpee from 7/11 or a smoothie from Jamba Juice. I seriously love me some frozen, sugar infused goodness. As tempting as it is, we can’t head out to get an Icee every time the kids do something remotely good. For your sake and mine, I decided to compile a list of 10 non-food rewards for the next time we are in search of some positive reinforcement that is not edible.
- Game Night
Depending on the level of reward you could buy a new game or just grab a few that have been sitting on the shelf. Trust me, the fun and memories you’ll have as a family will last way longer than the sticky faces and waffle cone that was crushed into your backseat. Here are a few of our family’s favorites: Count Your Chickens, Hi-Ho Cherry O!, Monopoly Deal (for older kids), Candyland, and Eye Found It.
- Take a Hike
This doesn’t have to be a backpacking trip or anything, just get your kid out in nature. Running through dirt, collecting sticks, and throwing rocks is some good, cheap fun.
- Movie Night
Movies are a rare occurrence in our household, so they actually hold some serious weight in the reward department. We got Faith to sleep through the night (at the early age of four years old) with a 20 day reward chart that had a Tangled DVD as her goal. Admittedly, it would be tough to have a movie night without popcorn. A trip to the movie theater would be equally as awesome.
- Day Trip
Beach trip, museum exhibit, visiting relatives… You name it, they can earn it!
- Bedtime Rewards
This could be as simple as an extra buddy to sleep with or an extra story before bed. A later bedtime for the night would be great for older kids. A sibling slumber party is a great reward, but proceed with caution. Endless giggles and extremely tired children will soon follow.
- Evening Walk or Bike Ride
After dinner, as a family, head out into the neighborhood and let your child lead the way on a walk or bike ride. They will feel empowered and you won’t have to spend a dime!
- Date with Mom or Dad
Another positive behavior reward that worked wonders with our oldest was a date with her dad. They got all dressed up and spent a few hours together. Full disclosure: Food was definitely involved, maybe even a Slurpee. Other ideas would be a dance party, pool party, kick around the soccer ball, do each other’s nails, play dress up, play catch, the list goes on.
8. Craft or Activity
Time to get your Pinterest on. Click here for some manageable ideas.
- Park Trip
A trip to a new or favorite park is a simple reward that won’t even cut into your Starbucks budget for the week.
You can go as big or small as you want with this one. Sleeping bags in the living room? Easy. Tent camping in your backyard? Now we are talking. Book a campsite for the weekend? That’s my kind of reward.
Okay, I know I told you it was only going to be ten ideas, but what reward list would be complete without the option for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth? Let’s be real. This is what is going at the end of my reward chart.
I hope you have a few more tricks up your sleeve for the next time you feel like rocking that positive reinforcement game. Did I miss any of your favorites? Share your best ideas in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by,
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