Pediatric therapists know quite well that motivating a young child is the key sometimes to successful outcomes. If a child is not interested or motivated in a task, he will not want to practice the task. Therapists try various ways to motivate children through the use of toys and reward systems. Here are several creative ways to reward children for completing whatever goal has been set.
1. Charm bracelets - buy some cheap charms and jewelry supplies. Each time a child completes a goal add a charm to the bracelet. Order charms that relate to the goal if possible - i.e. feet charms for gait training.
2. Free play - if you have an exciting therapy room full of toys, reward the child with a certain amount of free time in the room to play with whatever toy or piece of equipment that the child wants.
3. Earn play money - purchase a variety of inexpensive prizes and create prices for each item. When the child achieves the goal, give the child a fake one dollar bill. When the child accumulates say $10, you can open your shop of prizes. The child can choose to spend all the money at one time or save up for higher priced prizes.
4. Lunch - if you work in a school setting, perhaps reward a child with a lunch date. The child gets to eat lunch in the therapy room, maybe bring a friend, and the therapist can provide dessert. Play a game together after you eat.
5. Music - reward your older clients with a download for the mp3 player or put the song on a CD.
6. Reward box - Print and create this reward box to use
7. Therapy Bingo - Print and play Therapy Bingo
8. Award Cards - Print and create these free awards for OT and PT.
Check out these motivational tools:
Positive Affirmation Posters and Cards
Awards and Certificates for Pediatric Occupational and Physical Therapists