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Parenting Tip #14 It's important to Have Rewards & Consequences

It is important to reinforce appropriate behavior & to have consequences for misbehavior. A helpful strategy when establishing structures, routines & responsibilities is to reinforce them with rewards. Praise is an easy way to reinforce & reward good/appropriate behavior. Plus it gives us an opportunity to be our kids' cheerleader. A simple rule about rewards is cheap, quick & easy. I learned this from a behaviorist. It can be as simple as earning screen time (short TV show, 15-20 minutes of video games) or earning stickers, small toys, stuffed animals, or maybe a favorite treat.  I usually recommend going to the Dollar Store or the cheap bin at Target & have our kids pick out small things for a reward/prize box. Having rewards can also help teach our kids how to set goals. If they want a bigger reward/prize they have to earn it over time. For example, they need to have 3 days of of good behavior at school or 3 days of doing all their responsibilities without needing a lot of prompting & reminding so they can earn a bigger reward. I also recommend that if they consistently accomplish a 3 day goal to add more time, stretch it 5 days, 8 days, 2 weeks, etc. The bigger the reward the longer the time to earn it.

The important thing is that we work on teaching our kids how to earn things. This is the same with consequences. If they don't follow through with their responsibilities, they don't earn their screen time or we may have to take away their electronics (i.e. video game consoles, phones, tablets, lap tops). The key is they have to follow through with their responsibilities & expectations to earn things.

As I have said before in previous blogs about structures, routines, responsibility & structuring homework, the key is creating predictability & consistency. When our kids know what is expected of them & what they can earn, can help motivate them to follow through with responsibilities. Having consistent praise & rewarding appropriate behavior & follow through helps with reinforcing life skills.

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