Reward Systems and Healthy Habits

Thursday - February 06, 2014

Building good habits and preventing bad ones can be tough, but using a consistent reward system is a great way to do it efficiently and reliably.


In both children and adults, our habits add up to a whole portrait of our behavior. In order to foster a positive range of behaviors, it becomes important to reinforce positive habits and punish the negative ones. All parents want what is best for their child, so it is sometimes difficult to determine and implement a punishment. Likewise, finding a consistent reward that doesn’t risk overindulgence is also difficult.

Creating a consistent system of rewards and punishments is one of the best ways to circumvent these obstacles while preventing bad habits and promoting good habits. Use tokens, coins, or chips as a type of reward system. Give out a certain amount of tokens for positive habits, like making one’s bed or brushing one’s teeth. Take away a certain amount of tokens for negative habits, like throwing a tantrum or yelling inside. Then, offer a series of special privileges that your child can spend the tokens on—such as extra TV time or making a special dinner.

The system is great because it accomplishes several goals:

·         It rewards good behaviors, making them regular habits and giving your child self-esteem

·         It punishes negative behaviors in a tangible, non-harmful way

·         It offers a road for special privileges, so your child feels he/she earned them

·         It teaches introductory lessons about responsibility, earnings, and costs


Try it out in your home and let us know how it works out for your family!

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