Mom Monday-Health and Rewards for Kids-Strike a Balance

18 Apr

Is there a good way to reward your kids while ensuring you are maintaining a healthy balance in their lives? While it may seem impossible to adequately straddle that line, there are ways to keep the balance alive and well in your household. Rewarding your children is a great way to encourage and motivate them and it also feels great to do it as a parent. Keep reading to learn the best ways to reward your children in a healthy, effective, and all-around positive way.

Strike a Balance with Rewards for Kids on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Rewards vs. Bribery

Rewarding your child for good behavior or for particular accomplishments shouldn’t be synonymous with bribery. But what is the difference between the two? We’ve laid it all out below.

First, it’s important to recognize that most commonly, bribery is associated with a parent taking a measure to negate poor behavior while they are under duress. For example, this may occur when a family is at a restaurant for dinner. When a child refuses to eat his or her meal, a parent may be tempted to offer their child the promise of a decadent dessert if they eat what’s on their plate. Because that treat is promised as a reaction to poor behavior, it is considered a bribe.

On the other hand, a reward is achieved by a child demonstrating good consistent behavior and acting in the way that he or she should. Bribery and reacting to negative behavior has several negative results. First, it shows children that you are willing to negotiate with them in order to alter their behavior when they act out. Second, it will eventually instill a sense of entitlement in them, which is never a good thing. Giving a reward of something that your kids want or enjoy motivates them to practice good behavior, while bribery shows them that they will receive something desirable regardless of how they behave.

Reward ideas and how to implement them

Mason jar system – give each of your children a jar, marking them with their initials. Then, every time they do a good deed, complete a chore, or exemplify model behavior, allow them to place one cotton ball in the jar. Once it is filled, let them choose a reward. This not only motivates kids to act appropriately, but it also helps to space out rewards so that they do not get out of hand. In implementing this system, be sure to explain to your kids the different things they can do to earn a cotton ball so that the way it’ll work is clear as well as effective. Another fun idea that goes along with the jar system is to have kids pick their desired reward ahead of time. Then, place a picture of what they choose on the jar, with the caption, “I’m working towards…”. That will most definitely motivate them!


Arts and crafts – reward your kids by letting them pick a craft after they’ve demonstrated exemplary behavior. This will not only be something fun for them to do, but it’ll also be a great way for you to bond with your child. Let them get creative! It’s something that both of you are sure to enjoy.


Strike a Balance with Rewards for Kids on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad


A tasty treat – let’s face it, kids love junk food! And like anything else, these treats are okay in moderation. Rewarding your children with a pizza dinner or with their favorite candies is a great way to motivate them and to positively reinforce good behavior. This is also a good way to instill healthy eating habits, as it allows kids to indulge once in a blue moon, while ensuring they eat by and large in a healthy way.


The perfect system will differ from family to family, but following these tips and trying these ideas is a great place to start when it comes to rewarding your children in an effective way.

What activities will you try this week?  Tell me in the comments below.



Guest Post: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance Hilary Smithjournalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics and wishes to help parents raise their children to be the best they can be.  Follow her on Twitter!

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