Healthy and Affordable Ways to Reward Your Kids

Living a healthy lifestyle takes persistence and effort. Still, with our busy and at times chaotic lives, it’s can feel easier to give in to the convenient and often unhealthy desires of our children as a way to reward them for good behavior and grades. Here’s a short list of healthy and inexpensive rewards to motivate your child to keep up the great work.

A Day at the Park or a Trip into the City

Younger children love a visit to the park! Pack a healthy picnic, strap on the roller blades (or grab a bike)- and don’t forget the helmet! Your children will be smiling from ear to ear as they spend quality time with you and (bonus!) get some fresh air and exercise. On colder days, and for older kids, take a trip on the L train into downtown. You can take advantage of free days at Chicago’s many museums, visit the Harold Washington Library, visit Navy Pier, or hang out at Maggie Daley Park and plaza where children of all ages can enjoy climbing the rock wall.

Movie Matinee Date

Attend an early show at your local movie theater and you could catch matinee prices that are often several dollars cheaper than prime time prices. Bonus, you’ll get home with plenty of time for lunch and nap for younger kids (yay!) or those long-avoided chores (boo!).

At Home Movie Marathon

Pop some popcorn, grab your comfy blanket and settle in for a day of the best Hollywood has to offer! Netflix and chill with the kids or let your little ones pick out their favorite long-awaited movies from a Redbox. Make a healthy lunch or dinner of grilled cheese with avocado slices and veggie or chicken soup. Or set up a salad buffet where everyone gets to add their favorite healthy topping.

Dollar Store and Explore

Visit your local dollar store to find games and crafts to keep kids busy and entertained. Kids will feel like they’ve won a jackpot as they look for puzzles, toys, arts and crafts and more to keep them busy. You will feel like a million dollars too when you realize that you can keep kids happy and creative for just a dollar!

Visit Your Local Pet Shelter

Go get your snuggle on by visiting a local pet shelter. Call ahead to make sure your shelter allows volunteers. If they do, you and your family will enjoy a day of petting, grooming, and playing with furry friends- even if you aren’t quite ready to provide the forever home they’re waiting for.

Let Kids Stay Up Past Bedtime

Break out the board games and let your little ones have fun past bedtime together! Play games, look at old photos, tell family stories- or make up your own!

Invite a Friend

Take the work out of entertaining by letting your kids invite a friend over for an old-fashioned slumber party! Popcorn, pjs, and most likely their favorite video games will keep kids entertained and proud of their accomplishments that gained them the fun experience.

The most important healthy reward you can give your child is your time, attention, and unconditional love. Complement them on the things they did well, what you are most proud of, and how much time or effort they put into their work or behavior. Give constructive criticism that does not belittle, shame, or insult. Give praise often and freely to encourage your child to keep up the great work.