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Rewarding Your Toddler

Most adults love to get rewards, especially recognition when they do good work. Likewise, rewarding your toddler, when they do something you approve of, can make them feel good and have positive benefits on their behaviour.

Rewards Versus Bribes

Rewards are different to bribes:

  • A reward comes after your toddler has done something which you acknowledge as good. For example, ‘You got out of the bath without any fuss tonight, would you like me to read you a story?’
  • A bribe is offered before your toddler has done something in an attempt to persuade them to do it, such as, ‘If you get out of the bath without a fuss, I will read you a story.’

Types of Rewards

There are two different ways in which you can reward your toddler:

  • Hard rewards are something your toddler can touch, e.g. a stamp on their hand or a sticker
  • Soft rewards are emotional, such as giving them a hug, using a warm voice and smiling at them.

Which to Use

When deciding whether to use hard or soft rewards with your little one, consider their age. Most toddlers will respond well to a soft reward. However, as they get older they are likely to recognise the value of objects and may begin to prefer hard rewards.

How to Use Rewards

When giving your toddler a reward it should be given straight after they have shown the good behaviour. You should also explain to your toddler why they are getting the reward.

Using rewards to help your toddler change their behaviour takes time, so think of it as a long term approach in which you may not see the benefits straight away.

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