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Obviously, the kids of, well, my age are suckers for reputation points and badges.

What are the good approaches as far as rewards for kids elementary school age if you want to incentivize them via gamification?

  • Star stickers seem a bit too 3-year-old (though may be if I call them rep points? :)

  • Incentivising via edible treats seems like a REALLY bad approach to me (they are humans, not puppies).

  • Incentivising via parental attention seems like a bad idea as well. Kids should never feel that parental attention is a thing to toy with.

  • Incentivising via toys stops working when they accumulate too many toys or parents run out of money. When you have 20 different matchstick cars, 21st one seems to be... meh.

So, what are the GOOD approaches?

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I'd also refer you to my answer to another question. The question is different, but the answer can be applied here too. If you want to remove the idea of money though, you can rebrand it as experience points (levels give you rewards) or achievement/reputation points. Or maybe a combination? X-number of reputation points unlocks the ability to buy a reward, which you then have to spend "money" on to get it (just like in an MMO)? – Doc May 28 '14 at 14:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My favorite incentive is a good story or riddle. My children happen to love riddles and real historical stories, so if I need to encourage some behavior I will start with a teaser and let them know that the rest of the story is coming at bedtime if they do as I request.

This has the advantage of encouraging listening and paying attention, as well. When the story or riddle is a 'fun' activity that they've earned, children are much more apt to pay attention. And my kids know quite a bit of sciences, physics, and natural and human history!

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I hope you won't hate me for STEALING THIS ONE AND RUNNING WITH IT TO MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW. :) – Valkyrie May 28 '14 at 10:52
+1 - I use this one as well and it works very well! Last one was technology of making modern lightbulbs :) – user3143 May 28 '14 at 11:14

Maybe star stickers are a bit... well trodden, but like you said, you can try re-name them to xp, or currency.

once enough currency is gained, you may translate it into actual $$ (no need for a lot) to buy basic ingredients for DIY projects to do with your kids (nothing like quality time with them..).

You could possibly build a system where there's a nice stack of DIY ideas that your kids are into, and each has a price, or "xp-required-to-unlock", or a level requirement (you could level up by successfully completing other projects)

after a few rounds of DIY's with your kids, they may feel comfortable and secure enough to try out some on their own. Best of luck - parenting is hard work :)

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Welcome to Parenting! Great suggestions for "modernizing" the classic sticker chart for a new generation :) – Erica Sep 2 at 0:41

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