Our rewards for kids got an upgrade recently!
And it began with my 9-year old son’s non-aggression problem.
I know, it sounds like a made-up problem (it probably is). But when he stepped out onto the basketball court, it was PAINFUL to watch.
GAMES went by without him touching the ball. And he routinely let kids go past him.
Honestly, we doubted our decision to do basketball. “Maybe team sports aren’t for him,” we thought.
But then, I decided to try rewards for kids. I told him if he touched the ball five times during a game he could choose a coupon.
This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you purchase, at no cost to you. See my disclaimer for more info.
Can you guess what happened next?
He touched it six times IN THE FIRST HALF.
Not only was I shocked out how effective this reward system was, but we noticed that his confidence skyrocketed.
How should I reward my child?
Now, this scenario with our son worked because we chose a goal that was within reach, and we let him pick a reward that matched his interests.
Remember, smaller goals and rewards work better, and then raise the bar as you go. (The next basketball game was six touches, and so on.)
What to Use Rewards for
Rewards for children are amazing! They can be used to motivate your child towards any number of skills & habits. Plus, consistent rewards eliminate the need for punishment later, and remove a lot of stress.
I mean, couldn’t we ALL use less stress?
So, use kids reward ideas for any of the following:
- As positive reinforcement for good behavior (helping a sibling, doing chores, being kind, participating in a sport, etc.)
- To reinforce good habits (putting away their plates, making their beds, using manners at the table, reading, etc.)
- To show that you appreciate how hard they are working. (Reward the effort more than the result).
- To encourage them to support a goal the family is trying to achieve (healthier eating, being on time, etc.)
Now, pick from the ideas below and get started! Put these rewards in a jar or use coupons like I did! Either way, you’ll love it!
This post contains:
- Reward ideas for kids (of ALL ages), teen rewards, reward charts and systems to try
The Big List of Good Rewards for Kids
Rewards for kids don’t have to cost money, involve candy, or be complicated!
Fun Experience Reward Ideas
These reward ideas either let your kids do more of something they love or enable them to experience a brand new thing!
- Read aloud from a favorite book.
- Play a game (the child picks).
- 30 minutes of extra screen time.
- Take a day off of chores.
- Watch a movie or tv show (child picks!)
- Have a sleepover with a friend or two.
- Have a playdate with a friend.
- Do a one-on-one date with mom or dad.
- Stay up late.
- Give 30 minutes for the child to take pictures of anything.
- Have play time with play-doh, slime, or another craft of choice.
- Paint your nails. Or have a spa day.
- Read an extra story at bedtime.
- Build a blanket fort.
- Visit grandparents or cousins.
- Jump on the bed.
- Go on a hike.
- Go on a campout.
- Earn extra responsibility: walking home from school on their own, staying home alone, etc.
- Get out of school a few minutes early for a special outing of choice.
- Go swimming.
- Go skating or skiing.
- Go to a sporting game.
- Plan a birthday for someone. Or have a birthday party.
- Have a fancy dinner.
- Go to the movie theater.
- Pick a playground or make a trip to the park.
- Go rollerskating.
- Do a science experiment.
- Have a water fight. Or tickle fight.
- Get a professional hair cut.
- Take a trip to a pet store (if you can handle them wanting five pets after!)
- Paint his/her room a (reasonable) color of choice
Cool Item Rewards for Kids
These items will motivate even your toughest kids!
- Stickers (great for potty training or habits with younger kids!)
- Something for the bedroom – a decoration, themed sheets, cool pillows, etc. This works well for older kids!
- Gum (We’ve used this on virtual learning days as motivation.)
- New art supplies
- Increased allowance
- Child picks something out at the store.
- A new downloaded app or online game
- An article of clothing or shoes
- A new water bottle, lunch box, or other cool school supply
- A new book
- A pet. This can be a goldfish!
- A gift card to anything they love.
Related Post: Gifts Kids Will Love That Are Not Toys
Food Reward Ideas for Kids
Now, I struggle as a grownup with associating food with reward and comfort. If you do too, see great non-food adult rewards HERE!
For that reason, I prefer to use the other types of kids rewards more often.
However, there are some fun ones for this!
- Child picks dinner.
- Bake a treat together (the child picks).
- Drink hot chocolate (or another fun drink of choice).
- Get an extra hot lunch at school. (My kids have a set number of hot lunches that they get per week, so they covet these.)
- Go out for ice cream.
- Eat a special breakfast.
- Have the parent pick up a grocery item of the child’s choice.
- Have a popcorn party.
- Eat a special after school snack (find 50 healthy snacks HERE).
Family Rewards for Kids
These rewards are a motivating way to encourage everyone to work together towards a family goal.
- A family visit to the movie theater
- Camp out in the backyard or at a park
- Family bike ride and picnic
- Pajama day
- Family day out
- Full vacation or weekend getaway
- Go out to dinner at the favorite family restaurant.
- Night at a hotel
- Have a family night in (include games, these fun kids questions, a movie, snacks, etc.)
Related Post: 45 Examples for Amazing Family Goals
*Here are the rewards that work best in our house. Then, keep reading for ideas for teens!
Rewards for Teenagers
With teens, rewards based on freedom and choice are EXCELLENT options!
- Extended curfew
- More freedom to drive on their own
- Sleeping in
- Cellphone privileges
- Extra friend time
- A gas gift card or a gift card to somewhere they can hangout with friends
- Being able to eat in their bedroom
- Picking the music for a week (in the car, Alexa, etc.)
- A fun item for their car
- A fun item for their bedroom
- A new outfit or shoes
Daily Praise & Rewards
Finally, what about everyday things? Yes, it’s fun to use bigger rewards, but sometimes kids just need a little day to day love to help them do their best.
Help them be proud of themselves with these:
- A Hi-5
- Love notes to stick in their backpacks, lunch boxes, etc.
- Saying “good job on ________. ” (A recognition of hard work)
*Do you have a goal, but still aren’t sure about a reward? Leave a comment below, and I’ll help brainstorm.
Now, do you have something you want to keep track of for a reward? For my son, I just kept tallies in a notebook, but if it’s an ongoing reward, why not try a chart?
Check out these cool options for different goals!
Fun Etsy Reward Chart
This fun reward chart comes in 3 different colors! It’s perfect for potty training, reading goals, and any new habit you’re trying to build. Have kids color in the circles, write an X, or add stickers.
Your kids will have a GREAT visual as they work towards their goal.
Check out the reward chart HERE >> or go HERE for a SUPER affordable routine for kids bundle with more like this >>
If reading is one of their goals try these monthly charts from Saving Talents to help them keep track of their books!
Free Weekly Chore Chart
Related Post: A Less-Stress Morning Routine With Kids
Chore Chart for Younger Kids
Next, this beach chore chart is such a fun idea for summer! (There’s also an ocean theme chart through the link!) Use it for chores, or just about any goal or habit!
Other Fun Child Reward System Ideas
This chart from Amazon doubles as a reward chart AND can be used as a chore chart!
These editable reward charts from Etsy are BEAUTIFUL and so creative! This one is space themed, but there are so many other designs to choose from LittlePrintsParties.
Finally, this jar is an adorable option to keep track of a goal! All kids benefit from seeing their progress in a visual way!
To Consider With Rewards for Kids
There are all sorts of great rewards and charts to explore in this post! I hope you found some useful ones!
How are you going to use rewards for kids in your home?
Other family posts you’ll enjoy…
- Beautiful Love Quotes for Kids – lovely expressions to show your love.
- Free Birthday Interview for Kids – ask kids about themselves on their bday!
- 17 Easy Ways to Make Family Dinner Fun – simple (stress-free) activities to liven up dinner!