Teachers reward students for good behavior in the classroom and around the school. Students are often offered food and candy as rewards. While these items may be kid favorites, they do not provide any nutritional value and only a short-term reward. Candy can have a negative impact on student behavior and the ability to focus on future classroom work. Provide rewards that students will remember and align with healthy practices already taking place in the classroom and school. Learn more about healthy ways to reward students.
Healthy Rewards that you may want to incorporate into your classroom this year include:
- Extra recess time. Award students with extra recess time above what they normally have each day.
- “Student of the Day” . Designate a student as teacher’s helper for the day.
- Earn points or play money to spend on privileges or non-food items.
- Treasure box. Have inexpensive items such as pencils, erasers, bookmarks, or other school supplies for students to choose from when they exhibit good behavior.
- Handwritten note of praise. Parents love to hear how their students are doing in the classroom. Send a handwritten note home to parents about the good behavior that you recognized from the student.
- Privileges. Award coupons for special privileges, such as choosing the read aloud book or having lunch with the teacher.
- Communicate with parents. Send a letter to parents about your rewards strategy so they can support you and reinforce at home. [see note above re: letters]
Need additional ideas for non-food rewards, visit the Healthy Non-Food Rewards Tip Sheet.
Check your school district’s wellness policy–there may be regulations around how teachers reward students. If no policy exists at the district level, work with your fellow teachers and administration to develop a non-food reward policy for your school.