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Tips For Rewarding Good Behavior Without Breaking the Bank

The laws of supply and demand apply to kids just as they apply to businesses.
This means that you don't have to reach for your wallet every time you want to reward your child for being ​good. As a parent, you already con​trol commodities that your child values highly. You've heard the expression, "Time is money?" Well it happens to be true for children and teens, too. Here are two examples of how to set up free rewards to motivate your children to use positive behavior.

  1. Younger kids always want to go to bed later. To create a large batch of free rewards, simply establish an early and firm bedtime that is an hour or so earlier than the latest one you would actually accept.
    • Then split the time between the early bedtime and the later bedtime into four 15-minute units you can use as rewards.
    • When your child does something good, you can give a 15-minute "gold star" that will translate into a real-world reward of going to bed 15 minutes later than the bedtime you set.
  2. Older kids always want a later curfew. As in the bedtime example, establish an early curfew that is one hour earlier than the latest one you would actually accept.​
    • Then split the time between the two into 15-minute batches you can use as rewards for good behavior.
    • In summer or for older teens, you could even widen the curfew window to two hours and offer rewards in 30-minute increments instead of 15.

Another method is to look for other privileges that are freely available and then make them less available. This increases their value and their potential role as motivating rewards for your kids.