Low-Cost Reward Ideas To Motivate And Inspire Your Kids

Don’t entice your child with junk food or expensive gifts every time she displays good behaviour. Rewards should show your child that you really care. Here are some inexpensive reward ideas for you

By Kavitha Ravi  • 7 min read

Low-Cost Reward Ideas To Motivate And Inspire Your Kids

When four-year-old Ira sat at the dining table without making too much fuss and ate her dinner quietly, her mother gave her a hug. She also let Ira watch her favourite cartoon series on television for 15 more minutes than usual.

Ira’s mother was just rewarding her for good behaviour. When parents appreciate their children for behaving in a desired manner or for doing some task that they have been asked to do, children feel motivated to improve. The positive feedback that they receive, gives little ones a sense of accomplishment.

Research has revealed that positive reinforcement can have everlasting benefits. According to an article in Psychology Today titled 'Rewards Are Better Than Punishment', children are more likely to respond positively to rewards, as these are far more effective than punishment. Giving your child a small reward as a form of appreciation of their good work will go a long way in encouraging her to behave better in the future. But this doesn’t mean you reach for your wallet and go on a major spending spree, every time. The reward does not have to break the bank. All you need to do is get a little creative, and you will have a happy, motivated child!

Here are some cost-effective ways to inspire your children to do better:

Late bedtime

I want to sleep early said no kid ever. Most children dream of going to bed a little later than their usual bedtime. For them, this is a privilege which they love to enjoy once in a while. So, if you let them stay up reading or talking a little later than their usual bedtime, they will be over the moon! You can stretch it to an hour past their bedtime but no later than that. And maybe this will work better as a Friday-night treat. 

Extended TV time

Another great way to reward your children is treating them to extra television time. But you will have to be careful with this reward as there is an obvious reason why you limit TV time in the first place! Maybe 30 minutes earned in front of the TV, for every good deed done can be the way forward here.

Reward coupons

Which child does not like receiving coupons and tickets as appreciation from parents? You can create a set of coupons, which your little one can redeem when he listens to you or shows good behaviour. Some of the rewards can be ‘no chores for the day’, ‘favourite meal’, and ‘indoor picnic day’. While writing coupons, make sure you are able to give them what you promise, or the whole exercise will be futile.

Something special

Most children have a favourite activity that they enjoying doing but as a parent, you may not have the time to participate in that activity all the time. So, as a reward for good behaviour, surprise your child by joining them. It could be game of football, baking together or even, getting a manicure. You can go one step further and let them plan a day filled with their favourite activities.

Into the wild

Children are a bundle of energy. They love the sense of space and being in the outdoors. As a reward for a job well done, take your children to the zoo, for a walk in the park or, on a small hike that is age-appropriate. It will hardly cost you anything but helps them in more ways than one. What's more, they will be happily exhausted by the end of this reward!

Grocery shopping

A visit to the supermarket or any store can be a learning experience for a child and also, an apt reward. She will love looking at the multitude of products on display and the endless fascinating aisles. Make sure you do not buy her unnecessary treats from the store. Buy your regular groceries and get her to help you put them in the trolley. She will love the experience.

Movie night

Children are so full of wonder that they don’t mind watching a movie that has caught their fancy, over and over again. So, on Friday night, pick the latest movie or their favourite one, pop some popcorn in the microwave and enjoy! Engage in some playful banter. Your children will treasure the time spent with you.

Rewards systems are put in place for a reason. As a parent, it might be tempting to just go to a shop and make a big purchase in the name of showering love on your children. But those gifts will not last a lifetime. What will stand the test of time are the memories your children make with you and the positive encouragement you gave them to pursue their dreams. 

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