Preschool children love to be rewarded, if they do something good then heap on praise and offer a reward - in turn, you will be rewarded as you begin to condition their behaviour. Even the most trivial or trifling rewards can fill a toddler's pride. Sometimes you may reward with food, but try to coax with healthy foods rather than sweets and chocolate. Offer raisins or other dried fruit or perhaps rice cakes as an incentive for good behaviour or simply for being helpful.
Children will be just as stimulated by earning points or stickers. A sticker chart offers a simple visual reward mechanism. Even the youngest children will understand that when they do good or clever things, they will be rewarded with another sticker on the chart. If you don't have stickers, just draw stars onto a piece of paper. Even before they can count, young children will be able to sense quantity from the number of stars staring back at them.
Schools reward with responsibility; young children may take it in turns to deliver the register to the school reception, or to tidy away craft at the end of a session. Wiping the table after dinner may be seen as a privilege rather than a chore. See if you can instigate that same sense of importance and value by offering chores as a privilege. Invite your little ones to pair shoes or wellies by the door, to place their dirty clothes in the washing basket, or to collect waste bins from around the house before bin collection. There are a number of small jobs that young children will be able to take on around the house and by offering these as a reward for good behaviour, you will start to instil a sense of value and worth.
Having kids isn't only about indulging them - perhaps they can indulge you too?! For the first years of their lives, you run around doing everything for them, but as they grow older, you should start have them running around you! Introduce them to the idea of chores as soon as they are able to do something useful. From about 2 years old, they should be able to help tidy away their toys, put things in the bin and carry things for you from one place to another. It may seem cruel to introduce them to chores so young, but actually they will love the responsibility and they will love doing 'grown-up' things. Reward them through sticker charts at first and they will feel a sense of achievement. As they grow older and more able, you can introduce bigger chores and even start giving an allowance for their contribution. This will introduce them to the concepts of money and the value of money from an early age.
Sticker charts and certificates offer a great way to reward children for good behaviour and for reaching milestones. Sign up free to use ToucanLearn's sticker chart generator which you'll find in our 'Fun Stuff' section once you are logged in. Discuss a goal with your children, and plan a reward for completion. For example you might want to encourage your children to dress on their own, or brush their teeth really well. Each day or time that they achieve their objective, award them a sticker or star to put on their chart. When they complete the chart, they win a final reward. You should discuss the ultimate reward before they set out - and it doesn't have to be an expensive prize. It could be to allow them to invite a friend to play, or to stay up a little later one night. Small books make good rewards because it will encourage your children to appreciate books more generally. Sticker charts encourage children to concentrate on longer term goals.
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