20 Ways To Reward Your Kids Other Than Candy (i.e. “bribe them”)

As parents we have all been there,  “I want this!”, “Why can’t I have one?” and “It’s not fair!” are phrases that I have personally dealt with.  I know that I am not the only one.

Sometimes these questions turn us into:


Meaning we resort to offering rewards to our children to have them comply to our demands.   We will offer to buy candy, ice cream or a toy to have them calm down.

Now, I am not saying that all parents do this.  In fact, I know there are some parents who do this:


However, here are some suggestions that can work for some of us.  (FYI: We should all be doing this regardless of tantrums or not.)

1. Money!

Money is a good way to teach your kids the value of a dollar and savings. Some banks have wonderful programs for children when they open their own account. Of course, as the parent you do need to sign off on it. Some banks give the old-style savings books along with fun gifts for the kids as well. This is not only fun for the kids but also prepares them for the future (something our schools do not teach).


2. Game Night

Have your child pick out a good ole fashion board or card game. Of course this would depend on the age of your child. A few good examples are: Go Fish, Candy Land, Scrabble and so much more! The idea here is to have parent – child time while giving your child an option to make decisions and learn based on their age for reading, spelling, learning colors, shapes and numbers.


3. Play Dates and Sleepovers

All children have those best friends that are inseparable. The kids will absolutely love to spend more time with them. You can also ask your child what games, food and activities they would like. Again, this makes your child feel special knowing that they are allowed to make decisions and they have the opportunity to use their creativity. Pin the tail on the donkey has made a comeback! You can also give your child options to help them make better choices. Instead of ice cream, chips and pop, come up with some fun healthy snack options and let them help make the food.


4. Let them help you cook.

A great way to reward a child is by letting them help you make food. Children are so kind and always want to help. This gives you another opportunity to bond with your child and give them life experiences that they will hold on to forever. Depending on their age, you will have to choose the right steps to take and with what you are making. For instance, you may not want to have your child working with hot items on the stove but, you can have dry ingredients on the kitchen table, let them place the ingredients in the bowl and you both stir together. The possibilities are endless!

5. Date Night.

Every child loves a date night with mom or dad. Take your child out to the batting cages, go kart racing, the arcade, miniature golf! It will not matter, what you are doing or where you go as long as it creates a bond. Having that special one on one time makes your child feel important and gives them an ultimate sense of what a parent-child relationship is all about. Remember….the things you and your child do together will be memories to share for generations! Make it amazing!

6. Day trip to the zoo.

A trip to the zoo can be fun, exciting and a great learning experience. Your child can learn all about the animals, especially ones they have not heard of before. They can also touch and feed certain animals as well. Make sure to bring plenty of drinks and snacks and if they have done something extra special, make sure to invite a friend for them.

7. Amusement Park

I am sure that as a child you can recall memories at an amusement park. The Merry-Go-Round, the small roller coaster (mine was of a ladybug coaster!), the water rides, the families, the all-day event that was exhausting but so much fun! There are not only rides at amusement parks but there are games, stuffed animals, foot-peddling boats, photos and so much more!

8. Arts and Crafts

There are so many different ways to make arts and crafts with your children. Model trains, cars, and planes as well as knitting, collages, jewelry, candles to name a few. If you check the web for ideas you will be quite surprised on the amount of items you already have in your home to be able to do this. These days you can make something out of anything. For example: straws, paper plates, and aluminum foil. Have fun with it and you will be amazed at what your child can make. A child’s imagination can be quite impressive.

9. A bike ride.

Bike rides are fun for the entire family. I usually try to tie in rewards with learning as well. Here is a great example. Not only will your child be excited but you will also have the chance to teach them about crossing the street, how to cross, when to cross, the different streets that are close to home, directions, colors, flowers, trees and more. You can even stop at the park for a picnic and when you arrive back home, ask your child what their favorite part of the trip was. It’s a win-win situation for all.

10. Children love toys.

Children also enjoy presents and surprises. This is a special reward. There are a few ways to do this. You can have your child go to the store, they can pick out a toy and you can give them the money and let them cash out. This will not only excite them, but they will feel special when they hand the cashier the money. Another way to do this is by asking what toys they like and surprising them with a wrapped gift and have them unwrap it. Either way, it’s a great treat!

11. Clothes

If your child has been well behaved lately and you have been picking out their outfits and telling them what they can and cannot wear, just as most parents do, allowing them to start making their own decisions can be a mile mark for most. You can start out small by creating three different outfits that are acceptable to you and allow them to choose from the three you created. It definitely gives your child a sense of growing up and because of their behavior, you now feel confident to allow them to make a decision that you are still in control of.

12. Stay up later.

Depending on your child’s age and what time they normally go to bed, if they have had a great day and they were helpful and kind, if you want to give them something that does not have a cost to it, go ahead and let them stay up a bit later. Of course it is up to the parent on which time but for younger children, a half hour makes a big difference to them. If they are a bit older, sometimes an hour would be more rewarding. You can use this extra time to your advantage and maybe, just maybe you can get an extra half hour to an hour sleep in the morning.

13. TV Time

Let’s face it, TV, computers, games, etc. all seems to be on the want and desire list of children these days. However, as a mom myself, I would much rather have my child playing outside as I did as a child. I want my kids to grow up knowing what it is like to enjoy nature and all that it offers. Many parents are trying to stay away from an electronic takeover in their home. By allowing your child a half hour or an hour of TV time can make it seem like a luxury.

Some of these are easier to do than the others.  Regardless, it will be  a great time for your family as a whole.


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