Our kids love to be rewarded. They love to be encouraged, praised and told how great they did. I think part of the reason is because of how hard they have to work at everything. Everyday tasks and sometimes simple commands can be difficult for kids that are ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
I will share with you some of the things that have worked well in our home with C when it comes to reward system.
This has been a work in progress and we still tweak it and work on it to best fit his needs and interests.
I honestly don’t remember when we started implementing a reward system. But it must have been when he started kindergarten or first grade. C had behaviors in school so we wanted to reward his good behavior. And then there was homework so we wanted to reward him for homework done. He was also learning to do daily tasks such as brushing teeth, putting dirty laundry in the hamper, etc.
Here are 5 steps to creating a reward system for your child.
1. Create a list of tasks, assignments, behaviors or actions that you expect from your child.
Make these reasonable and age and maturity level appropriate. You know your child the best and yes there are lists of what a child at a certain age should be able to do. But keep those in mind as guidelines, not the final word. I would even recommend very simple and attainable tasks when you first start out. These will always evolve as your child progresses.
An example of a couple of tasks would be – Brush your teeth in the morning and – Finish one page of homework.
2. Find your child’s currency.
By this I mean to find out what drives your child. What does he want and will work hard for? This could be a favorite candy, stuffed animals, small trinkets, stickers, screen time, phone games or video games.This will entirely depend on you and your child.
3. Put together a visual.
A visual reward graph
This can be very helpful for kids. It helps them to see what is expected of them and what they get if they follow those expectations.
If it’s not an immediate reward, they can see how much they have done and how much more they need to do before they reach their reward.
Monthly Reward Calendar
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A Visual Schedule
Create a visual schedule of tasks they need to complete each day. They get rewarded for each task completed or a reward for all of the tasks completed.
You can use tickets as currency your child can earn. Then they turn them in for their reward. We don’t do this anymore but it helped when C was younger.
You can buy these at your local party store or online.
Explain to your child what is expected of them and how they will be rewarded. If this is your first time doing something like this you may need to remind them several times a day, then a few times a week until it becomes normal.
This can be a visual calendar. For example, C has a calendar where he gets a sticker per day of good behavior in school. At the end of the week, he gets rewarded with ice cream or donuts.
It can also be a list of desired behaviors/ tasks and the child gets a star/sticker for completion. They need to get a certain amount to get the final reward.
In our home we have a morning “to do list” and an after-school/evening “to do” list. I just searched online for icons of tasks and some I created myself. Laminated and velcro’d it.
*I am working on creating my own schedule and icons to offer to you in the future.
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If C completes everything he needs to do in the morning he gets to watch TV if there is time before school.
These are great because you can just point to the schedule or ask the child if he/she completed everything on their list. This can eliminate yelling and nagging and arguing. It helped in our home at least.
You can use the tickets as currency to buy toys, trinkets, stickers, whatever your child is working for.
For a completed task or behavior we gave C physical tickets. Each ticket represented a minute of screen time. He would follow some kind of direction that he really didn’t want to, he gets 2 tickets. He puts away clean laundry, he gets 5 tickets. He helps me with something I ask, he gets 3 tickets.
The harder the task the more tickets he gets. If he used proper behavior in a difficult situation he would get rewarded as well. He traded in those tickets for time on my phone, computer or TV.
Many of the tasks he stopped getting rewarded for simply because the reward was to reinforce good behavior. Once he learned that behavior he no longer got rewarded for it and we find other things for him to do/learn.
These day’s C has a list of daily tasks or chores and expectations of behaviors at home. We tell him when we’re proud of him or pleased but he doesn’t get rewarded for it. He thrives on words of affirmation.
He does get rewarded for school work completed, books read and the food that is eaten. These three are what is difficult for him these days. The reward of screen time is what drives him to complete those.
5. Evaluate and reevaluate
Try out a reward system. Is it working? Not working? Did your child currency change? Try something for a week and see if it works. Change it up if you have to.
What kind of reward system have you tried?
What kind of printables would you like me to create to help with this? Let me know! I want to help
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