Do you reward your children? Some parents say rewards are unnecessary: “I want him to do chores because he’s part of our family.” We want our children to do good because it is good, not for a mercenary reason.
A child’s work is to play and learn. Each of those should be its own reward. But sometimes learning is hard. A little reward can honor the effort made on work that doesn’t have much intrinsic payoff. Just as adults appreciate paychecks even when they love their jobs, so children appreciate rewards even when they enjoy their work. How much more when they don’t!
Rewarding Children Enrolled on a Free Online Homeschool Program
We can give rewards informally or through formal systems. Most parents offer rewards informally. You might say, “If you finish your math problems by noon, we can go skating” or “We’ll go to the playground in one hour if you make your bed and put away all the toys and clothes on your floor.” Such informal incentives can move children along.
A formal approach to rewards is sometimes called a token system. In it, we state exactly what we want them to do, specify how many points they will earn when they do it, and let them trade in points for a prize. For instance, our library gives a coupon for a small pizza to every child who reads ten books over the summer. Frequent flyer programs and store reward programs are token systems for adults.
At home, we can help our children see their progress by recording points in tangibly: putting checks or stickers on a chart or dropping beans or tokens into a jar. Rewards need not be expensive: a picnic lunch, a trip to the park, a donut, or a favorite dish for supper. These are enough to motivate children enrolled on a free online homeschool.
Token System for Better Rewards
Token or point systems are more likely to help children under twelve and children with communication or attention problems. Distractible and impulsive children often have a hard time connecting their actions to consequences. Point systems can help them make the connection. Token systems also allow you to distance yourself from the rules: “I’m sorry, but you don’t have the points to watch a movie this Friday.”
When a child earns a reward, give it promptly. If you’ve promised a trip to the zoo and the child earned the points for it, don’t make him wait a month. The younger the child, the sooner the reward needs to be given.
Token systems don’t work well for everyone. If you have a child who will melt down because she has missed a reward by one point or if you are a distractible parent who cannot remember to keep up with the points or give rewards promptly, try an informal approach: “If you finish by noon, we’ll go to the park for a picnic lunch.” But keep your word. If they don’t finish until 12:15, save the park for another day. So, how do you use rewards to encourage your homeschooling child? Regardless if they’re on a free online homeschool or not, all of these tips are going to help greatly.