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When do rewards work?

Date: October 1st, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: If you want to put a child in a reward program, when will they work the best?

They work the best when the rewards are unexpected, when the child doesn’t know it’s coming, when they all of a sudden change a behavior and start doing well.

When the kid isn’t expecting a reward and we say, “You had an awesome week, here’s a homework pass.” Or, “You get to be the leader of the line today.” Or, “You get an extra recess.” Whatever the reward might be. The child realized he has done something good.

He might not always be sure of what it was he did that was good, but he knows he wants to do it again. And that’s what we want a reward program to do, to get these kids to want to have good behavior.