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Reward (Not Bribe) Your Child for Good Behavior

6 do's and don'ts of motivating your kid with incentives.
Rewarding Rule #4:

Not all rewards should be material.

Balance material rewards with nonmaterial ones, such as a trip to the park, extra play time and reading his favorite book to him. "You can motivate a child by offering a reward or a low-cost present for good behavior," says Cathryn Galanter, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, in New York City.

Rewarding Rule #5:

Make the reward fit the situation.

You want to make sure that the rewards match the behavior: If your child is cooperative at bedtime, an extra story would be a more appropriate reward, not a new toy.

Rewarding Rule #6:

Don't overdo it.

If you offer rewards for every little accomplishment, your child may come to expect a special treat everytime she does something you ask. Most of the time, something as simple as a compliment is often reward enough. Praise and attention are highly rewarding for young children, as is special time with a parent, notes Dr. Lessin, "the biggest reward a parent can give is approval."

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