Incentives and bribes are not the same

Adults get incentives, and your kid should, too. If you stay on target and eat healthy all day, you might treat yourself to dessert. If your child sits still while you put their wet wraps on, it is appropriate to celebrate their success. ⠀

It can sometimes be hard to discern between incentivizing your child for meeting expectations and bribing them into those behaviors, but Lindsay, our Director of Community Engagement, explains how parents and caretakers can find their footing.⠀

Bribes involve constant negotiation between your child and his or her caretaker. If you find yourself saying, “if you please do this, you can do whatever else you want — you can have that candy or watch that show,” you are likely engaging in bribing. This happens sometimes, so forgive yourself and relinquish any guilt you feel, but try to incentivize behaviors instead. ⠀

Incentivizing happens when we establish a clear expectation: when your child achieves a goal or performs a behavior, he or she gets a reward that was already agreed upon. This reward does not change, but it goes away when if your child does not meet the target. This technique can promote positive self-esteem and help your child master skills that are for their benefit. ⠀

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