By: Meredith Ivey, LPC-S, RPT-S

t’s a good idea to offer your children rewards. Not just for doing their chores or for good grades, but randomly offering a reward when you catch them doing something you appreciate. As parents we give consequences when we catch children misbehaving, yet often fail to offer rewards in the same way. These rewards do not need to be big, just a little thing that reciprocates the good behavior. Offering rewards in this way not only encourages that behavior, but builds the connection between you and your children.

When offering rewards you are able to learn more about your child by paying attention to the rewards they choose. Take note of the rewards your child picks and learn from this so you can continue to show them love in the way they feel it best. This is a sample rewards chart based on Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. This chart is intended for younger children. You may want to make adjustments based on your child’s gender and age. If your children are old enough to participate have them help you make this chart.

Sample Rewards For Each Love Language:

Touch:

• 10 minutes of extra cuddle time before bed
• 5 min foot rub

Words of Affirmation:

• Written compliment
• Mom or Dad will share at the dinner table why they are proud of you.

Gifts:

• Mom or Dad will pick up a surprise for you from the store
• Pick a prize from the prize box

Acts of Service:

• Help with your chore
• Mom will make your bed for you

Quality Time:

• 15 min of one on one time
• Go on a walk with mom or dad

Here is a printable chart you could use to let your children pick their reward.

Some alternatives might be:

Touch: If you have a young girl, you might paint her nails or toes.

Acts of Service: Help your child with a fun project they have been wanting to do. Clean out your child’s car if they drive.

Quality Time: Just sit and watch your child play, be there while he does what he enjoys.

Gifts: This does not have to be expensive, it IS the thought that counts. Buy them their favorite meal for diner, or just a fun new pair of socks.

Words of Affirmation: Send a note in their lunch box, or buy a card and leave it on their bed.

Be creative and have fun finding new ways to show your children how much you love them!