Establishing A Rewards System For Your High Schooler

Posted on January 09 2013

Your child may sometimes forget: learning is fun! You, as a parent, can be a great source of motivation and encouragement. This is particularly important for a student enrolled in a virtual high school. There are no teachers who will follow up and motivate the child. He has to develop a certain level of discipline for him to independently complete his courses and earn his high school diploma.

You can also establish a rewards and recognition system for your student who is enrolled in an online high school. The positive reinforcement provided by a rewards system can actually be more effective that merely a system of “don’ts” and punishments.

Here’s what you can do to provide positive reinforcement for your child:

  • Know what makes your child tick and give him a reward that he appreciates. Teens are unique and you need to study your child to know the appropriate reward to give your child. It does not have to be fancy or expensive. Simple rewards can be as effective if it is tailored to what the child wants and is willing to work for. These can be:
    • Longer breaks during the school day
    • 15 minutes or 30 minutes extra after bed time
    • Getting to choose the meal to be served or where the family can go for dinner out
    • Allowing a sleepover with a friend
    • Being able to help out in preparing or cooking a meal or with baking their favorite goodies
    • A ticket to a movie
  • Have a pick-a-prize box. This can work, even with teens. Put some prize items in the box. Cut out a hole where your child can put his hand in and pick a mystery prize. This can include small prizes or coupons for specific prizes, such as the one mentioned above. Of course, a chance to pick a prize should be based on points earned. Points can be given for big and small accomplishments.
  • Celebrate your teen’s achievements. Have a day out to recognize how far your child has come in terms of his online high school courses. Bring him to a place he wants to go to – such as the amusement park or the pool.
  • Encourage with words and gestures. A treat does not only constitute a material reward. You can also motivate using your words or gestures of affection. Saying, “You did a good job!” or “I’m proud of you.” along with a hug or a pat in the back can do wonders to boost your child’s confidence.
  • Enlist your child in making the reward system. Ask for his suggestions about the reward (and corrective discipline) system for him. He will feel more involved when you allow him to add his input. Discuss about rules, daily and weekly goals and prizes he will get. Of course, these should be within reasonable measures.
  • The rule should be SMART. Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This is the way companies define their goal-setting. This is also applicable for your rewards system. Instead of setting a rule that is vague such as “no complaining” or “complete your work on time”, you can say, “Finish the Algebra exercises on page 12 on Monday.” or “Submit the geography paper on Friday.”