The Pros and Cons of Reward Systems for Kids

The Pros and Cons of Reward Systems for Kids

Reward systems for kids have been a topic of discussion among parents, educators, and child development experts for many years. The idea behind reward systems is to encourage positive behavior and motivate children to achieve their goals. However, like any parenting strategy, reward systems have their pros and cons. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of reward systems for kids.

Pros of Reward Systems for Kids

Encourage Positive Behavior

Reward systems can be an effective way to encourage positive behavior in children. By rewarding good behavior, children are more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. This is because they associate the behavior with a positive outcome. For example, if a child receives a reward for cleaning their room, they are more likely to clean their room again in the future.

Provide Motivation

Reward systems can also provide motivation for children to achieve their goals. By offering rewards for completing tasks or achieving milestones, children are motivated to work towards those goals. This can be especially effective for children who struggle with motivation or have difficulty staying on task.

Build Self-Esteem

When children receive rewards for their accomplishments, it can boost their self-esteem and confidence. This is because they feel proud of themselves for achieving their goals. This can also help to reinforce positive behavior and encourage children to continue to work towards their goals.

Improve Relationships

Reward systems can also improve relationships between parents and children. When parents offer rewards for positive behavior, children feel loved and appreciated. This can strengthen the bond between parents and children and lead to better communication and understanding.

Cons of Reward Systems for Kids

May Lead to a Sense of Entitlement

One of the biggest drawbacks of reward systems is that they can lead to a sense of entitlement in children. When children become used to receiving rewards for good behavior, they may begin to expect rewards for everything they do. This can lead to an attitude of entitlement and a lack of appreciation for the rewards they receive.

Can be Expensive

Reward systems can also be expensive, especially if parents offer expensive rewards or incentives. This can put a strain on the family budget and may not be sustainable in the long term.

May Undermine Intrinsic Motivation

Reward systems can also undermine intrinsic motivation in children. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do something because it is inherently enjoyable or rewarding. When children are rewarded for their behavior, they may begin to focus more on the reward than the behavior itself. This can lead to a lack of intrinsic motivation and a reliance on external rewards.

Can Create Unhealthy Competition

Finally, reward systems can create unhealthy competition among siblings or classmates. When children are competing for rewards, it can lead to a sense of rivalry and resentment. This can be especially true if the rewards are not evenly distributed or if some children receive more rewards than others.


Reward systems for kids have their pros and cons, and it is up to parents to decide whether they are a good fit for their family. While reward systems can encourage positive behavior and motivate children to achieve their goals, they can also lead to a sense of entitlement, undermine intrinsic motivation, and create unhealthy competition. It is important for parents to consider the potential drawbacks of reward systems and to use them in moderation.


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