Should Your Kids Earn Their Privileges?
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, then put some responsibility on their shoulders” – Abigail Van Buren
What is the best way to use privileges (or rewards) to motivate kids?
That is every parent’s question. The key to your success is not just what to use as privileges, but how to use them correctly. There’s more to it than “dangling a carrot at the end of a stick,” I assure you. I support you in reaching your goal: To create not only a motivated kid for today, but also to create a self-starter for the future. What you teach your children today will impact them in the long run.
Simple and easy actions on your part may include praising your kids when you see them trying their best, and allowing them to earn treats or certain rewards for making good choices. Privileges can be powerful incentives for kids of all ages.
Nine important factors that parents must keep in mind about all privileges:
These factors are presented in no particular order…
- Privileges can include long-term rewards (such as getting a bike), as well as short-term rewards (such as a special treat after dinner).
- Privileges vary according to your kids’ tastes and needs. As your kids’ tastes change, so do their choices for rewards. So, stay in tune to their needs.
- Privileges must be EARNED. Never change this rule. The moment your kids notice they don’t have to work for a privilege, they will feel entitled to it.
- Privileges should be appropriate to your child’s developmental age.
- Privileges are not necessarily something you have to purchase; they don’t have to cost a thing. For example, it could be a fun family activity or access to a toy already owned.
- Privileges should be incentives from your child’s perspective. They are not necessarily something you desire, but you must approve of them. For example, music by a band whose music you wouldn’t enjoy, but do approve of!
- You and your child must agree upon what’s a privilege. Keep in mind, however, that the privilege should be enticing mainly to your child.
- At first, your child may not succeed in earning a privilege. This situation is quite common and usually due to lack of effort on the child’s part. If it happens, loss of that privilege should not punish other members of the family.
- A privilege must closely match in value the amount of work your child puts toward earning it. For example, you would not reward a child with a new bike just for doing one day’s worth of chores.
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.