Gabe Gab – How to utilize a reward system for kids with ADHD

The most important thing about a reward system is that the kid buys into it.   For the first few weeks you just GIVE points and then after that you can start taking away.  What you don’t want is the child not to have ANY points or get points taken away and give up on the whole system. 

What is the Child getting rewarded for? 

There should be 5 or 6 target behaviors you want your child to accomplish.  These should be what they get rewarded for doing.   Here are what we use:

  • 1) You woke up and got ready for school without and arguing, whining, and yelling. (5pts)
  • 2) You did your work at school without and arguing, whining, and yelling with your teachers. (5pts)
  • 3) You use manors throughout the day without being asked. (5pts)
  • 4) You let someone know if Abby is bugging you and you don’t yell at or hit her. (5pts)
  • 5) You do your chores (cleaning your room/Shoes).  BONUS if you do them without being asked. (5-10pts)

At the end of the day I have Gabe tell me what he did and figure out his points.  I will help him a bit or ask specific questions about specifics. 

What are the Rewards?

For us, we have a poster board and I printed out pictures of different things.  The poster is divided up into a section for each picture.  We use hash marks to determine how far we’ve gotten towards each one.  The rewards are all worth different points.  The thing about rewards is you should MAKE a kid put things in each section so they are seeing daily rewards, weekly rewards and others that take a little time to ‘save-up’ for.  For Gabe we have daily such as dessert, TV time.  We have weekly like a hot dog after Wrestling practice or an ice cream out, and bigger ones like Skylander figures, $25 etc.  These prizes are worth 10 – 200 points.    There are MANY ways to do this.  You can do chips in a jar, tickets, etc. 

Tips to make this work.

Post these where the child can see them.

Use cues throughout the day so you child doesn’t forget. 

As target behaviors start becoming routine for your child, start adding new behaviors

Make the rewards stuff that the child should be earning.  Example- the child should not be earning expensive stuff daily.  Also, if you do something as a family, you should include this stuff.  If my family went out to ice cream once a week then I wouldn’t have included this on the sheet because you wouldn’t want to exclude your child.


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