Reward Ideas for Children

When children are given food as a reward for good behavior, the types of foods are usually 'sometimes' foods such as lollies, chocolate, chips and sweet drinks. These foods are high in fat, sugar or salt. 'Sometimes' foods are not the best rewards for positive behavior. They can potentially:

  • undermine what is being taught at the service about healthy eating
  • teach children to eat when they are not hungry
  • encourage children to overeat foods high in fat, sugar and salt
  • teach children to reward themselves with food

For these reasons, if you choose to use rewards at your service to reinforce positive behavior, non-food rewards are encouraged.

Try the following ideas to reward positive behavior:

Social rewards

  • Attention, praise or thanks are highly valued by children. Simple gestures like verbal praise, nods or smiles mean a lot.


  • A sticker or hand stamp in recognition of achievement with a positive message.
  • A phone call, letter or email sent home to parents or carers commending a child's accomplishment/behaviour.
  • Recognising a child's achievement in the service newsletter or via a display.


  • Choosing an activity
  • Helping the educator
  • Sitting in a special seat
  • Playing a favorite game
  • Taking care of the service/room animal or mascot for a day
  • A special badge to wear for the day

Rewards for the whole room

  • Have a learning experience outdoors
  • Extra art, music, healthy cooking experience, active play or story time
  • "Free choice" time
  • Playing a favorite game or doing a puzzle together.

Other ideas

  • Stickers
  • Coloured pencils or crayons
  • Badges
  • Balloons
  • Mini colouring pads
  • Ink stamps
  • Curly straws
  • Small bouncy rubber balls
  • A plant or seeds and pot for growing herbs or vegetables