What’s the best way to reward a child’s homework?

Firstly it’s worthwhile to remember why we really have rewards. Partially we have them, as the name suggests, to reward hard work and achievement on the part of the child. Dig a little deeper however and the real reason we have rewards is to motivate and inspire children to give and achieve of their best.

If a rewards structure does not motivate a child then it isn’t working

What rewards work and what don’t?

We know that little rewards given more frequently work better than the promise of one large reward at some point in the future. The large reward may work for a while but performance always drops off. Little rewards can be tailored and changed as you go to retain interest.

When should work be rewarded?

The common mistake is to only reward performance. Actually if you think of what you are trying to achieve (sustained effort) then what you need to reward are the building blocks of success-

  • Sitting down on time
  • Working with a smile on their face
  • Giving of their best each time they work

If rewards ensure that the process of getting work done isn’t a fight and that work is entered into enthusiastically then they will have done their job.

Of course larger rewards can be offered such as a monthly reward or a reward for achievement at the end. Sometimes it’s good to offer a surprise reward for really good work.

How should work be rewarded?

We are certain that small frequent rewards or stars that build up to a larger reward work best because you are targeting the little effort that’s required each day to be successful. Without that interest fades.

In terms of how much or what should be given as a reward that is down to each family to decide. Each family will know their own child and their soft spots.  For some families it will be more screen time or sweets; for others parental time and reading the story of their choice works, for others building up a set of stickers and then going to the cinema works.  It’s entirely your choice. Some parents of course use money but often children find an item rather than money is more rewarding at this age.

A fuller guide to giving rewards is accessible here

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