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Kids Earn Privileges

Should Your Kids Earn Their Privileges?

KidsEarningPrivileges-DrShirinSherkatIn previous posts we have talked about The Difference Between Privileges and Bribing, and Age Appropriate Privileges. In this article we will continue the discussion as we talk about the idea that kids should earn their privileges.

Privileges should be desirable to the kid…In order for you to have any leverage when using privileges as incentive for reward, you must make sure the privilege is something your child wants. So, while I’ve provided suggestions for age appropriate privileges, the best way to find out what your kids consider rewarding is to ask them, and/or observe, listen, and be in tune with their needs.

Both you and your kid should agree on what’s a privilege.

The key word here is you and how you manage your child’s privileges. The secret to using privileges as motivation is having control over them.

  • You offer options
  • You choose how they earn the privilege
  • You decide when the kid has earned it
  • You choose when to give the kid access to the privilege

The kid’s role includes making a choice among the options offered by you, working for the privilege, earning it and letting you know when he or she is ready to receive the privilege. The kid’s job is NOT to control the process. That is your job as a parent.

What if the kid fails to earn the privilege?

If your kid fails to earn the privilege, your family shouldn’t “suffer” too!

Often, enjoying a privilege may involve a few members of the family. For example:

  • FamilyGameNight-DrShirinSherkatIf your kid doesn’t earn game night, would you deprive your other child from a game night as well by canceling the whole event?
  • If your older daughter doesn’t earn her new bike, would you deprive her little sister, who was eagerly awaiting the hand-me-down bike?
  • If your son doesn’t earn a trip to the park one afternoon, and you can’t leave him alone at home, would your younger child feel punished by missing out on the outing too?

These are very important questions. You want to take into account a back-up plan that includes the needs of all family members.

Privileges should match the work.

If you worked very hard at your job and only got half your anticipated paycheck, how motivated would you feel about showing up to work the next day? On the other hand, let’s say you participate in a race, place tenth out of ten participants, and the event organizer gives each of you a huge brass trophy with your name on it! How much would you value that trophy? How much would you value the same trophy if you had placed first?

The message is, earn privileges, and learn to value the reward for your hard work!

In my next post I’ll talk about what not to do when trying to motivate your kids.

This is an excerpt from my book: “Create Happy Kids”

Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.

Contact her at 425-772-6698.