Promoting Healthy Habits: A Guide to Non-Food Rewards for Kids

Family spending time together

Promoting healthy habits in children is incredibly important for their overall well-being and development. As parents and caregivers, it's our responsibility to help them make positive choices and lead a healthy lifestyle. Remember, as a parent you are your children’s greatest influence and role model.

Setting health goals that are realistic for your child

Setting realistic health goals is essential for achieving long-term success and staying motivated. It empowers us to set achievable targets, fosters a sense of accomplishment and actively encourages a positive and healthy lifestyle.

Make sure to involve your child in the goal setting process by talking about their interests and what they enjoy. Together, you can establish achievable targets that are suitable for their age and take into account their current abilities, which will empower them and keep them motivated to work towards these goals.

Non-food rewards for kids

Instead of relying on food as a reward for good behaviour or achievements, there are plenty of other non-food rewards that can be just as effective in encouraging healthy habits in kids.

In this article, we'll explore a variety of non-food rewards for kids that can motivate and inspire children to embrace healthy habits.

When choosing non-food rewards, it's important to consider what your child likes and enjoys. Tailoring the rewards to their individual hobbies or passions will make them more engaged and motivated.

It's also a great idea to choose rewards that promote healthy habits, such as activities that get them moving, spark their creativity, encourage learning or allow for quality time with loved ones.

1. Personal rewards

Personalise rewards based on your child's specific interests and hobbies. If they're passionate about sports, think about getting them tickets to a game or a sports-themed gift.

If they love music, consider a new instrument or concert tickets as a fantastic incentive. By tailoring rewards to their individual preferences, you show that you appreciate and understand their passions, fostering a sense of appreciation and motivation.

2. Family day out

Spending quality time as a whole family is invaluable and strengthens the bond between you as parents and your children.

Reward your child with a family outing to a park, beach or hiking trail. Engaging in outdoor activities fosters a love for nature, promotes physical fitness and allows for meaningful connections to each other, but also Nature itself.

For a special treat, plan a trip to a theme park, zoo or aquarium. These activities not only provide an exciting adventure but also encourage physical activity and engagement with the world around us.

3. Get creative

Support and nurture your child's artistic talents by providing creative rewards. Consider buying art supplies, enrolling in a pottery or painting class, or encouraging them to join a local drama group. But keep it simple and economical — it is more important to your children the amount of time you spend with them than the amount of money you spend on them.

By fostering creativity, you not only offer a non-food reward but also boost their self-esteem and help develop their imagination.

4. Foster a love of learning

Knowledge is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Consider rewarding your child with books, educational games or puzzles that align with their interests. This not only promotes a love for learning but also enhances cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills. Visit your local library to encourage this love of learning and reading.

5. Games equipment

Motivate your child to engage in physical activities by providing them with the necessary gear. Whether it's a new bike, roller skates or a basketball hoop, these rewards encourage them to get active and enjoy outdoor play. You and your kids can go to your local parks and swimming pool centre for fun while again being economical.

6. Family movie or game nights

Set aside time for a family movie or game night. Let your child choose the movie or the game, creating an enjoyable and interactive experience for everyone. These activities promote bonding and create lasting memories while diverting attention away from food-related rewards.

7.  Recognition and praise

Don't underestimate the power of recognition and praise. Acknowledge and celebrate your child's efforts and achievements. Positive reinforcement and genuine praise can have a lasting impact on a child's self-esteem and motivation.

8. Spend time together

In the end, the most precious reward for a child is simply spending extra quality time with their loved ones. Plan a regular special day with your child, engaging in activities they enjoy or having a heart-to-heart conversation. The gift of time and undivided attention is an invaluable reward that strengthens relationships and fosters emotional well-being.

By offering non-food rewards for kids, you can motivate and inspire them to adopt healthy lifestyle choices while providing them with experiences, knowledge and opportunities for personal growth. These non-food rewards not only contribute to their physical well-being but also nurture their creativity, boost self-esteem and foster positive relationships.

Need help with making changes?

At Childhood Obesity Prevention, we understand that there may be times when you and your children could benefit from extra support in making lasting lifestyle changes.

If you have any concerns about the choices your family is making and how they impact your health, we are here to help. We offer a range of options to meet your family's needs, including personalised consultations and our book, Ride to Life, which guides you on your path to healthier eating habits.