10 Reward Ideas For Kids To keep Them Motivated and Positive

Many parents make the mistake of assuming that a reward system involves extravagant items. There are rewards that are effective and will cost you nothing.

There are various low-cost and free tactics that you can use to reward your kids. Privileges can include activities that your child already enjoys doing.

It is essential to ensure that your child is serious about earning the incentive by offering rewards that are in line with your child’s needs and interests. For example, one child may be motivated by going for ice cream while another may be motivated with additional TV time or being in charge of the remote for a couple of hours.

Whether you’re trying to encourage your child to get his chores done, teaching him to stop hitting or throwing things, here are a few rewards ideas for kids to keep them motivated and positive.

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10 Reward Ideas For Kids

  1. Praise

Giving praise should not be limited to giant achievements. A few words of encouragement as an incentive can go a long way in re-assuring your child that you are paying attention to the effort he is putting in and stay motivated to keep up the good work. Make sure you often praise him for being good.

  1. Material rewards

Sometimes praise won’t do the trick and a little extra incentive is called for. A treasure box filled with items from the dollar shop can be an excellent motivational tool. Let your child pick a reward item at the end of the week if he’s met his goals.

  1. Bedtime curfew

Another great way to motivate a child is to allow them to stay up for an extra few minutes. Many parents are tentative to allow their kids to stay up later, but let’s be honest, a few minutes is not going to make them sleep deprived. Younger kids will feel like a “big kid” if they’re able to stay up later than their siblings and this can be an excellent incentive. However, if you have a child who does not have good sleeping habits, then this incentive is not ideal, and it will be best to choose another.

  1. Meaningful activities

You can choose an activity that your child will enjoy doing and will also allow you to have more bonding time for example, playing a board game, going to the park, go to the movies or an extra bedtime story.

  1. Additional screen time

It is vital to keep your child’s electronics use regulated, but you can make the use of digital devices your reward. Just make sure you are putting a cap on the amount of time the child can earn i.e. two-hour limit.

Screen time rewards can be offered in 15-minute intervals. Say for instance your child had a good day at school, he has earned himself 15 minutes and if he exhibits good behaviour such as being respectful, then he can have another 15 minutes.

  1. Making crafts

Most kids enjoy getting messy or being creative and there are loads of inspiration to be found online for making crafts with regular household items.

Finger painting, making jewellery or creating things from empty egg cartons, cotton balls, ribbons, buttons and other bibs and bobs lying around the house can be an excellent reward and your kid will love you for it.

Kids painting

  1. Coupons

Kids love the idea of earning coupons that get them to either received stuff or allowing them to forfeit on a chore. You can fill a container with coupons that says things like: “you get to skip one chore” or “choose your favourite meal for dinner”. Your child can have the option to use the coupon whenever he wants (within reason of course).

  1. Social activities

You can consent to your child earning more social opportunities such as having a sleepover or inviting a friend to visit, or you can offer to take the friend with when going to the park or a fun activity.

  1. Reward chart or token system

A system that can work really well for kids of all ages is either a sticker chart or token system. Once he has earned a certain number of stickers or tokens by the end of the month you can offer superior incentives for instance buying them the toy they’ve been wanting for a long time, treating them to a playing session at a playpark or taking them to a family restaurant for a nice meal. Reward charts are aimed at changing children’s behaviour.

Reward charts are an excellent way to:

  • Encourage behaviour that you desire, for instance brushing teeth without fuss.
  • Discourage bad behaviour for instance hitting or throwing toys.
  • Reward your child for accomplishing new skills like putting away toys or staying well-behaved in a shopping centre.

  1. Food rewards

It’s not always the best idea to offer junk food as a reward, but you can maybe motivate your child by offering junk food once or twice a month if they’ve earned enough tokens for good behaviour. Alternatively, you can agree to having your child choose what’s for dinner or let him have a picnic in the garden or camp out in the backyard if the weather permits or it is safe to do so. Another great idea is to allow them to help you with baking something special like making cupcakes and decorating them.


When it comes to reward ideas for kids, the possibilities are endless. You can get your child involved by asking them what types of rewards they would prefer to earn. Very often it is the simplest things like sleeping in a tent, visiting the park or allowing them to get messy that really motivates them to behave.

Once you’ve compiled a list of rewards, identify which tasks needs to be completed first to earn a reward. Remember to be specific and don’t make it too easy to earn the first reward. Success will motivate them to keep up the good work and to work hard for what they want.

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  1. Cheron Hercules

    I learned something new. Thank you Kaboutjie. Keep up the great work. Much love

  2. Great Article… I usually associate rewards with material things but this has given me some good ideas

    • Lynne Huysamen

      Nadia I prefer not to always reward with material things. My kids love reward charts – getting stars is something they absolutely love. I do give them something once they have achieved 50 stars but they are usually more excited about getting the stars and they get to keep their charts afterwards which they treat like treasure!

  3. Lindie Cameron

    I love the idea of a treasure box and they get to choose a reward. My daughter’s love language is receiving gifts and she appreciates the smallest gestures. This will be a wonderful idea to try out on her.

    • Lynne Huysamen

      Oh yes my kids also love getting to choose their own rewards! It makes it all the more fun and exciting.

  4. For us, a promise to go to the park is always the best reward. The thing I still struggle with is making her to clean up her toys. I tryed all kinds of rewards but nothing is working yet. Not even the rewards that always work… Maybe I should start a reward chart… I think that would be something she would be interested in. ? Thank you for all the great advice ?

    • Lynne Huysamen

      Karmen I know what you mean! When it comes to the daily task of picking up toys and cleaning their room I have a great system in place. My kids can mess as much as they like during the day – but everything that they mess up must be cleaned by them before we eat dinner. If they have not cleaned up they get to go straight to bed after their bath instead of having cuddles, story time or anything else that we may do after their bath time. Also if there are any treat planned for after dinner they will go without if they don’t do their bit.
      They learn VERY quickly that every mess they make they will be responsible for at the end of the day so they make less mess, plus they also learn that if they don’t tidy everything up 1) They will be having an early night 2) The mess will still be there the next day for them to clean up 3) If they don’t clean it up the next day history will just repeat itself.
      I also think it is very age dependent – my son at 5 years old struggles more than my daughter that is 7. So I help him a little bit every now and then.
      What I also do is when they don’t have to be reminded to tidy up at the end of the day I then reward them with a star on their reward chart. Not for tidying up as such but for being responsible and doing it without me nagging.

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