I’ve learned that therapy sessions with some children go much, much better when you can offer some sort of incentive. The trick is to make sure you have specific expectations for earning the prize, not just if a child has “been good.” The expectation might be no tantrums during the session, that they will answer all questions, or that they will participate in a practice. Here are some ideas for rewards you can use with children during therapy sessions.
- I’ve known some therapists who have a “treasure box” or “prize box” for children to pick items out of. The Dollar Store, Target’s Dollar Spot, or the party favor aisle of the store are great places to get cheap items to offer as rewards.
- Computer game for 5-10 minutes at the end of session (Nick Jr. website is a great site for appropriate games for younger children)
- An APPROPRIATE youtube video (I once worked with a 4-year-old who watched “Let it Go” from Frozen EVERY SINGLE SESSION).
- A preferred game with you at the end of session
Don’t forget how powerful praise can be. Most of the time you do not need to offer a reward if you keep the frequency of praise high!