Rewards for Kids!

Rewards for Kids: Ready-to-Use Charts & Activities for Positive Parenting

by Virginia M. Shiller, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017

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Finding a way to encourage tots and elementary school children to behave well without resorting to bribery is a parent’s number one challenge. In this work experienced psychologist and child educator Virginia Shiller explains why it works to catch them doing something good. Reward, not bribery, is the key. Shiller shows parents how to use a variety of child-friendly sticker charts and other tools to reward kids for good behaviour. This proven-positive parenting technique has been used to help kids overcome such common behaviour problems as bedtime procrastination and sleep disturbances, getting along with siblings or friends, getting ready for school and other events on time, doing chores, and completing homework without fuss.

Review of Rewards for Kids! by Clara Chapman, Ph.D.:

Dr. Virginia Shiller has addressed the dilemma of adapting effective behavioral techniques to the “wonderful idiosyncratic nature of human beings and the ways that they interact with their environments”. Her method is to teach parents how to enter into dialogues with their children so that the Reward Plans they develop are customized to their own families and so that both kids and parents are motivated to give them a try. Instead of simply giving the adults rules to follow, she provides explanations of the underlying principles so that the parents themselves can learn how to address common behavioral problems in a caring and creative manner. Specific examples are given of such common battlegrounds as struggles over bedtimes, picking on siblings, and homework. She describes how to use humor and creativity in order to enlist the cooperation of the children, so that they can become able to experience the rewards of self-control. I liked the emphasis on empowering rather than controlling. In addition, there are lots of cute charts, games, and tokens that are fun to use with kids.

I especially liked Dr. Shiller’s discussion of the differences between bribes and rewards. I have already used that in talking with parents. (Though this book is written so that it can be used by the average parent, there is something in it for experienced clinicians, too.) While Dr. Shiller explains the principles in a manner which could instruct a psychology student, she also includes a level of subtlety which is interesting to people who have been doing this for a while. This is a useful and excellent book.

Review of Rewards for Kids! by Kirkus Reviews (starred review):

A debut manual addresses many problems in parenting with a dash of fun and plenty of advice.

“He started it.” “Can you read one more story?” “I’ll do it later.” From early toddlerhood on, it seems to many a harried parent that the child-rearing path is littered with a litany of endless complaints, followed by seat-of-the-pants deal-making. Tired moms and dads just might give in to expert cajoling from young ones or, worse, bribe them for more desirable outcomes. As Shiller (Child Study Center/Yale Univ.) shows in her book, there’s a savvier method of approaching standard-issue parenting troubles: the rewards plan. While many readers may have seen a generalized version of “sticker charts,” Shiller, ably assisted by Schneider, delves deeply into the subject, first by assuring the worried parent that a rewards plan is not a bribe and that kids who follow such strategies do not grow up expecting prizes for every task when they get older. The volume, with illustrations by Matthews, discusses various probable situations in detail and with good humor. What if daily hygiene is a battle? A kid who loves gymnastics could earn stickers toward lessons, for example. To encourage a child to follow bedtime rules, his mother could offer a trip to an amusement park if he earns 55 check marks on the Keeping Track charts in the next month. The key is to bargain during down time and not when everyone’s nerves are frayed (“Wait for a calm moment. Don’t offer a reward while the hysteria is in full flower”). Although Shiller encourages dialogue, she points out that there are ways to make sure that kids don’t ask for Nintendo systems every week they make their beds. How? Negotiate. Parents of older children should especially appreciate how the same system can be used for their situations—say, when sleepovers become difficult to execute. The book includes a variety of pullout charts (Zoo, Treasure Hunt, Dinosaur Land) that can be colored in right away, and examples of stickers to use when a kid slips up and makes a mistake. A cleareyed and informative look at the trials of parenting, this readable book presents one solution customized for a bevy of situations, providing a template to tackle practically every challenge through this new lens.

An engaging guide that offers a valuable rewards solution for frazzled moms and dads.

Order any of the four versions of the book below.

Virginia Shiller, Ph.D.

Virginia M. Shiller, Ph.D., LLC
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

147 Bishop Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 776-3681

Original English edition (Click the book cover to order).

Spanish edition. (Click the book cover to order).

Italian edition (Click the book cover to order).

Chinese edition (Click the book cover to order).