How to Use Incentives to Encourage Good Behavior

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Experience from our child care service shows that one of the tools for encouraging good behaviors in children is incentives. Parents fear using incentives because they feel as if they are bribing their children to what they want. Please do away with the guilt because this is not the case. You are only teaching your child which behavior is acceptable, and you are using rewards to distinguish that from unacceptable behavior.

 Using a Reward Chart

A reward chart is an excellent way of using incentives to encourage your child to behave well. Make sure that your child is present with you as you make the reward chart. It will help him have a better understanding of how it works. Every child has his good and bad habits. The key is to encourage the good habits and discourage the bad ones. This means that you need to have these behaviors in mind. For example, if your child doesn’t like eating their food, then you can list this as negative behavior, and then the positive behavior would be eating their food.

Have Age-Appropriate Expectations

It is essential that the positive behavior you expect your child to engage in is something that is appropriate for their age. It should also be something that they can do with the right guidance. For example, you cannot expect a one-year-old child to dress himself up properly from head to toe. It will be difficult even if you give him incentives and this will further frustrate him when he fails. It doesn’t mean that the behavior should be easy, but it shouldn’t be too hard also. Your kid should feel like they have a chance at succeeding and getting the reward. Sometimes, a child will make small steps towards accomplishing the more significant task ahead of them.

Let Your Child Choose Some Incentives

Your child needs to have a hand in selecting the incentives because they know what they want and this is what will motivate them to behave well. Let’s say you put a movie as an incentive for sharing their toys with their friends but your child is not fascinated with a movie. Instead, they want a ball. What will happen in this case? They will not be motivated to share their toys, and you will not be successful in encouraging good behavior. You can put both less costly and relatively costly items. Some incentives can even be free. An example is allowing your child to play games on your phone. When you and your child work together, you’ll come up with a plan that works for both of you.

It is normal to worry that using incentives to promote good behavior will make your child grow up into adults who don’t do good if they’re no rewards. However, psychologists say that using incentives leads to repeated practice. When your child shares his toys, cleans his room and is kind to people over and over, these behaviors may become natural to them over time.

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