Sweet Rewards You Can’t Eat

Let’s face it, kids are bombarded with food rewards.
Win Math Olympics at school – get a pizza party.
Win the soccer game – ice cream all around.
Come to Sunday school – we’ve got doughnuts!

Unfortunately, we have become a society that uses food for much more than fueling the needs of our bodies. Many schools, churches, and families have made “junk food” the national currency for children’s good behavior. Many kids, especially those who are overweight, are harmed by this type of reinforcement. Even if a child is normal weight, a mindset that “food is a reward” can lead to weight and health problems later in life. Therefore, rewarding your child in creative ways, that don’t include food, is very important.

Below are some non-food rewards that you can consider. Nannies will need to discuss many of the rewards with the parents below.

For other ideas, talk to your kid!

No-Cost Rewards
• Chore relief
• Later weekend bedtime
• Play a game (of child’s choice)
• Listen to “their” music in the car
• Sleep in another room
• Get a book at the library
• Rent a DVD at the library
• Interview the child about their success
• Extra computer time
• Let your child be your personal trainer for a day
• Anything outdoors – together (frisbee, play catch, shoot baskets, kick the soccer ball)
• A pat on the back
• Write a poem highlighting their success
• Take a digital photo representing their accomplishment – use it as wallpaper on the family computer
• Let your child give you a dance lesson
• Listen to their favorite CD with them
• Give your child a foot or back massage
• Give your child one of your possessions – jewelry, paperweights, clothes, pictures, or collectibles

Low/Moderate Cost Rewards
• Go Bowling
• Roller Skating
• Ice Skating
• Putt-Putt golf
• Play Ping-Pong
• Ride a canoe
• Buy some music
• Small item from the dollar store
• New ball (football, basketball, kickball, baseball, softball, etc.)
• Any non-food dollar item from the dollar store
• New Book
• Gift Card
• Magnets
• Jewelry
• Pencils/Pens
• Art Supplies
• Sports Cards
• Clothes
• Tokens that can be collected and redeemed for more costly items (video games, etc.)

To learn more about L.I.F.E. for Kids, St. Vincent’s holistic healthy lifestyle program for children and adolescents, call (317) 338-CARE.

Do you use any fun rewards with the children you care for?

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