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Encourage & Reward Your Child ~ without bribes or spending money!

Daily Task Chart


Rewards need not be physical, expensive items for children. You can encourage and reward your child in simple, effective measures where at the end of the day, everyone is happy … isn’t that a reward in itself!?


If you set clear instructions or tasks that the child is able to achieve, you are letting your child build their own confidence. Everyone should learn to give themselves a pat on the back … because you don’t always get “thanks” in the big world out there. Do you remember in school when the teachers said “give yourself a pat on the back” …I think they were onto something there.


When there are problem periods, like first thing in the morning before school or late in the evening before bed-time … then we find a little encouragement in the form of “routine” is in order! When the same task is practised at the same time every day, it begins to happen on autopilot. You will need to guide the children with their routine for some time … but it will be worth it in the end.

Tell the children what you’re planning on doing, and if you like, write your routine down on a Daily Task Chart (or use pictures) so they can see what order it happens in. You can use stickers, but a simple and free method is to simply place a tick in the box. Most children will get a thrill by simply using a pen and achieving their task. Smiles all around.


Children love to imitate their parents, so the best way to encourage them is to lead by example. If this means writing your name on the Daily Task Chart as well, then do it! Make it fair and ensure everyone in the family has the same rules.


It’s sometimes hard to acknowledge when things are going well … it’s usually the whinging, whining and tantrums that get our attention. Therefore, that’s usually when we give our children attention ~ you’re seeing the pattern here? If you are guilty of not giving praise when the children have done a good job, then put it on your Daily Task Chart so you’re reminded as well! And remember … we praise the task, not the person (i.e. “I really liked how you put your toys in the toybox” instead of “good girl/boy”).


One way to encourage a child, is to challenge them. Children appreciate learning new things and get a huge sense of accomplishment when achieving something new … just like adults. Continue to review their tasks and achievements and gently guide them into taking the next step.


The power of choice builds confidence in children, however the trouble usually arises when they choose something that’s not available to them or isn’t allowed. Tantrums are guaranteed, and then we’re in trouble again. Offer your children a choice with guidelines, for example “would you like an apple or a pear”, rather than “what fruit would you like”. Offer as many choices throughout the day as you can manage, and build them up in broader and broader options so they can learn to make their own choices and decisions.

Set Goals

As an adult, if I want to achieve something, I need to set a goal and break it down into little steps to achieve it. If you want your child to get their own breakfast, and it’s usually a nightmare … then write a list of smaller steps to achieve it and share them with the child.

You need to turn off the tv, set the table, gather your utensils,
gather your food, and sit down to eat, then put your plates away.

That’s quite a list for a child to remember when you simply instruct them to “get your breakfast”. Break down the instructions into simple, easy to remember tasks and when it’s finished, they get a reward (i.e. broader choice of breakfast options, or a point {see below for points system}). As the days progress, less rewards are offered, and the instructions become broader … little by little until it becomes auto-pilot for them.

Daily Task Chart

Points System

Many older children only want to help around the home if money is the reward. You could try swapping money for points with the reward being an activity or treat (be it a movie of their choice, meal of their choice {with limits}, play their favourite board game etc). This system can be used on younger children and toddlers too. Keep a tally of the points on a chart placed in a public place as a reminder.

Increase Privileges

An effective, free reward to encourage children is to increase their privileges. This works great in conjunction with the points system, and try to avoid using them as bribes. It makes children feel extra special, and grown up! These could include staying up 15 minutes late, inviting a friend over, exemption from a chore, baking their favourite cake/treat or extra time on their favourite hobby.


Love and Affection

Whilst there should be an abundance of love and affection at all times, it’s always extra special nice to get a great big hug and kiss as a reward for doing a good job. Children get the biggest thrill when we encourage and reward with love and cuddles. It can be hard to do this when they’re going through clingy fazes … but together with all the other suggestions above, cuddles are a necessity.

Whether you were aware of these options, or whether you found something new in this article … sometimes it’s nice to have a simple reminder. These were my tools to encourage and reward the children (for free!) … I’d love to hear if you have any that I have missed!


I’m Alison and I created THE THRIFTY ISSUE because I enjoy sharing ideas and creating things with my family and friends, on a budget. The Thrifty Issue is a place to visit for stylish, funky and fun ideas on saving time, money and stress. A place to meet and greet, to share and explore The Thrifty Issue.



Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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