The topic of reward charts is one that often prompts a passionate debate. For some parents, they are nothing short of miracle makers, while others feel somewhat uneasy about bribing their children to behave a certain way.
So what are the pros and cons of reward charts exactly? Do they help to make positive long-term changes in behaviour or do they simply encourage children to seek external praise instead of feeling satisfied with their actions?
We’ve heard a lot of opinions over the years at SleepyTot, which can be summarised into the “For” and “Against” arguments. We’ll start on a positive note…
The “For” Debate
Many parents believe that reward charts are an effective way to encourage a desired behaviour in children, providing that the charts are used in the correct manner. For most of the parents who use reward charts, this means using consequences as well as incentives. For example, if the child doesn’t behave in a way that warrants a reward – and especially if they don’t seem to care about receiving the reward – they are faced with the consequence. This usually means taking away one of the rewards that they have already achieved, such as removing a sticker from their sticker reward chart. Rewarding a child for complying and penalising a child for not complying, helps to teach the value of the lesson through cooperative choices or uncooperative choices.
The “Against” Debate
Some parents believe that reward charts build nothing but unrealistic expectations. In other words, the child will be less likely to continue with their good behaviour unless there’s something in it for them! There’s also the issue of the reward detracting the excitement or the importance from a certain action or behaviour. For example, these parents may worry that a reward for reading a book will make the child more interested in the reward than reading itself.
We believe that you should do what’s right for your family. Our SleepyTot comforters can help babies and children to achieve better sleep – with or without reward charts.
You can find out how our award winning comforters have worked for so many families here.