“Hard work should always be rewarded.”
Many people get more motivated knowing that their hard work will be rewarded with a treat. It might be the thought of the relaxing during the weekend after a long week or knowing that taking the dog out for on a daily basis is how you earn your allowance.
When your child is learning a new way of behaving, giving them small rewards can be quite useful. Everyone needs a reward now and then – especially when we are trying to overcome a hurdle.
Everyday treats are good way for you to motivate your child to keep on working with Myinnerme’s programmes even if it at times get tough. Rewards is also used in cognitive therapy as a motivation for children that are dealing with anxiety and social anxiety to challenge their problems. Because knowing that you have a treat waiting makes the struggle more tolerable.
We humans are motivated by very different things. Some people are motivated by materialism others are motivated by enjoyable experiences and spending time with family and friends. It may also vary a lot what we think of as a reward – what you find is a good reward might not be a reward in your child’s opinion.
Small rewards will do
That’s why it might be a good idea having a conversation with your child about what they regard as a reward. It is self-evident that if the treat shall be a motivation then the child must feel they are being rewarded – it must be something special and extraordinary.
You don’t have to motivate the child with a travel, a new pet or a brand-new computer, less will do the trick. What is important is that the rewards are easy to achieve and that the child is rewarded shortly after they have finished their “task”: they should be rewarded as soon as they have achieved their goal. In other words: the reward has to be compatible with your daily life, hence the name everyday rewards.
Many parents are thrilled when they are introduced to this reward system. With the best intentions in mind they establish a bunch of rewards for each struggle the child has to overcome and hope that the reward will be the solution and enough to motivate the child to overcome their challenges. But the reward doesn’t equal motivation.
Often the child is already highly motivated to get better. Most children are already doing their very best to solve these problems – no child wants to struggle. This is a very important thing to remember.
The reward system does not work on every child: some might feel that the rewards puts too much pressure on them and almost becomes stressful, because suddenly they feel they have to fulfill certain expectations in order to achieve a reward.
Those children that feel pressured by the reward system often has too overcome challenges that are too difficult or too unspecified. The challenges that will trigger a reward can neither be too easy or too difficult for the child to overcome.
The challenges must be specified and easy to take on such as, asking a stranger for directions or calling the doctor. In our programme on social anxiety you get specific tools on how you in a gentle way can challenge your child’s difficulties.
This blogpost is meant to inspire you to find different everyday rewards you can use to encourage your child. Look through the list together with your child and decide which rewards you guys should try at home when your child overcomes a challenge. By involving the child in the decision making the rewards are more likely to actually motivate the child.
Below we have gathered different examples on everyday and weekly rewards. The list is far from exhaustive, so we encourage you to make more rewards that will be applicable in your daily life. Consider which prize a challenge is rewarded with and if every challenge is rewarded in the same way every time? Or should small challenges be rewarded with small prizes and big challenges be rewarded with larger prizes? The choice is yours just as long as the reward is plausible in your daily life.
- Dessert after dinner
- Staying up x minutes after bedtime
- Choosing the radio channel in the car
- Staying x minutes longer in the bath or shower
- Playing computer in x minutes
- Getting money to buy food at school
- Getting x minutes massage from a parent
- Talking to a friend on the phone for x minutes
- Watching a movie
Daily or weekly rewards
- Visit a friend
- Having a friend over
- Going to a café
- A special activity with mom and/or dad
- A day or an entire week without chores
- Playing a game of choice with parents or the family
- Going fishing
- Going to the movies
- Taking a stroll in the park or forest
- Calling a friend that lives abroad
- Making popcorn or baking a cake
- Choosing a special item in a shop
- Going on a shopping spree
- Renting a movie
- Going to a restaurant of choice
- Sleep-over at a friend or family member