When your child achieves something special—maybe they were named “Student of the Month” at school, recently joined a sports team for the first time, or wrote an impressive short story or poem for a contest—it is not always necessary to reward them, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
In fact, just as journalist Stephen Schwartz suggests, “every project has challenges, and every project has its rewards.”
It is oftentimes beneficial to reward your child for overcoming difficult challenges.
However, if you are giving your child the same reward every time they overcome a challenge or accomplish something special—raising a child’s allowance seems to be the go-to reward these days—they may grow weary of the rewards. So, here are a few fun and creative alternatives you can use when rewarding your child for a job well done.
1. Go out to the Movies
If there is a movie that your child has been waiting to see for some time, then you can simply reward their hard work by taking them out to see said movie in theaters.
And be sure not to skimp out on the popcorn and candy when you take them to the theater, either, because the popcorn and snacks are likely a large reason for your child wanting to go out to see a movie in theaters in the first place.
Don’t lie to yourself—you go for the popcorn, too!
2. Extend Bedtime by an Hour
Your child will love this reward: What’s more exciting than having the opportunity to stay up an hour past your bedtime to hang out with the grownups?
For a child, probably nothing (except maybe Christmas).
If you are going to go with this reward, it might also be best to extend your child’s bedtime on a weekend evening. This way, they will not fall asleep in class the next day at school and potentially miss out on a valuable lesson.
3. Allow an Extra Hour of TV Time
This may seem like somewhat of an obvious reward for some parents or perhaps not a reward at all if your child already spends quite a lot of time watching TV.
Yet, if you—as a parent—set restrictions on how much time your child can spend in front of the TV every day, they will likely be ecstatic just to have that extra hour to watch their favorite show or movie.
4. Make Their Favorite Dinner
Your child might feel extra special if—after they receive a good grade on a school assignment or clean their entire bedroom without being asked—they also get to sit down to their favorite dinner: Macaroni and cheese, roast beef and potatoes, or even ham and pineapple pizza.
If your child happens to be a chef-in-the-making, it might also be a reward for them if you invite them to cook the dinner with you. Then they can really reap the benefits of all their hard work.
5. Let Them Pick a Sweet Treat
Next time you go to the grocery store with your child, let them roam the aisles and get a sweet treat—or even two—of their choosing such as cookies, ice-cream bars, or gummy candies.
It’s no secret that children appreciate sweets and treats more than others simply because they cannot have them whenever they wish. So, by rewarding your child with a sweet treat every now and then for an accomplishment, you really are showing them that—in the words of Mary Kom—“the harder you fight, the sweeter…the rewards in the end.”
6.Plan a Sleepover with Friends
If sleepovers are a rarity in your household, then this may be the best reward of all for your child.
You can allow your child to invite one or two of their friends—maybe even make a whole slumber party out of it—to sleepover on a weekend night.
In order to make the sleepover even more of a reward for your child, you could also pick up some movies, games, and snacks to keep them entertained for the evening.
And if your child is extra deserving of a reward—say they recently helped their grandfather clean his house from top to bottom or they just participated in their first dance recital without a hitch—you might even treat your child, as well as their friends, to a night out at the movies, your child’s favorite dinner, and a sleepover.
After the sleepover, you may need to spend the next day or two cleaning up your house. On the bright side, your child might offer to help clean up so they can get a head start on earning their next reward!