13 Ways to Reward Your Kid without Candy

Jan 20 2012

It’s extremely popular to use candy as a reward for good behavior. Dispensing candy takes almost no effort and kids naturally love it. But it turns out that candy rewards can be very problematic: more than half of children develop dental caries before the second grade. Studies show that a child’s preference for candy increases when it is used as a reward and coupled with positive adult interaction. And, it’s only natural that children frequently rewarded with candy will fall into the habit of rewarding themselves with food or candy later in life, a recipe for dietary and psychological disaster. With child obesity on the rise, it’s important to give kids every chance they can get for developing healthy habits early in life.

Stumped as to how to reward your kid without candy? Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Bouncy balls
  2. Water tattoos
  3. Colorful pencils
  4. Stickers
  5. A trip to the park
  6. Make ‘em laugh: promise your child you’ll do something silly – stand on your head, for example – whenever they obey.
  7. Playtime with friends
  8. Let them listen to the music of their choice.
  9. Quality time: reward them with a special afternoon or evening out with mom or dad.
  10. Physical touch: embrace your child often and especially when they’ve behaved appropriately.
  11. Verbal validation: “Wow! Great work!”
  12. Write a note to your child to put in his or her lunch, telling them how much you appreciate his or her good behavior.
  13. Recognize their good behavior in front of other adults. Brag about your child in public.

To help preserve your child’s dental health, visit your Sandy, UT children’s dentist, where there’s a special reward waiting for every child at the end of every visit.

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[…] Congratulate them. For many children, a visit to the dentist is a very emotional experience. Let them know that they did a great job and explain to them why receiving regular checkups is important. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce good dental habits and to empower the child to take command of their dental health until their next visit. A tangible treat will contribute to the child’s positive experience. Remember, not all rewards have to include candy! […]