Rewards for managing sleep problems

Rewards for managing sleep problems

Rewards can really motivate a child to improve their behaviour. They work best if given soon after the behaviour, not after a few days.

Sleeping sound in primary school children - rewards

Rewards can really motivate a child to improve their behaviour. They work best if given soon after the behaviour, not after a few days. After a couple of weeks, they may not work as well but by then you hope your child’s behaviour has improved!

Setting up a reward system

  • choose a reward that your child will want
  • keep rewards small and cheap (for example, stickers, stamps)
  • make sure your child has a chance to get a few rewards over the first few days; for example, at first you may reward them for staying in their room at the start of the night. Once they can do this, you may then reward them only if they stay in their room the whole night
  • give the reward as soon as possible after the good behaviour (for example, first thing in the morning)
  • you can build on rewards (for example, 4 stickers = a lucky dip or a trip to the park or a choice of DVD after dinner. Some parents buy cheap toys from the $2 shop and wrap these up for a lucky dip)
  • try not to make food the reward
  • NEVER take away a reward – if your child has earned it, they keep it!

Making a star/sticker chart

You can download free charts from the internet; such as the one on this site or make your own.

Image of a reward chart

Thumbnail of 'Rewards' handout

Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand thank the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, for making this content available to parents and families.

© Copyright – Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2014. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of this content may be reproduced by a process, electronic or otherwise, without the specific written permission of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

This page last reviewed 06 July 2017.
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