By: Tabatha Bender, Redemption Plus

You might know a little about child psychology, but have you considered how these concepts impact your redemption program? When kids are ready to redeem tickets, this could be their first opportunity to make an independent decision. If it isn’t, they likely aren’t used to it. By learning about how children make decisions you’re able to create a better experience for them, your staff, and your bottom line.

Decision making is one of the most important skills children develop at a relatively young age. Generally, parents help kids grow in their ability to make good decisions and make them quickly. A redemption counter could be the first time a parent lets a child make a choice completely independently because the risk is rather low.

So, what about children making decisions impacts your redemption area? For starters, Psychology Today says this about young decision makers, “Because children lack experience and perspective, they tend to make decisions that are impulsive and focused on immediate gratification.”

That probably isn’t a surprise for you. If you spend even a few minutes with a kid in your redemption room, this will be easy to pick up on. However, even by ages 5 and 6 children are becoming more versed in their decision-making skills.

“Five- and six-year-old children are becoming more conscious of decision making. They may even take a great deal of time to ponder over a choice and keep the entire class waiting! Children feel a certain luxury in this new responsibility and take it very seriously. Choosing what to wear, what activity to do, and whom to set up a playdate with can be monumental decisions for a five- and six-year-old. In the process, children are defining their personality and creating an individuated self.” — Scholastic Magazine

With all that in mind, there are action steps for your redemption area and staff to make it a better experience for everyone. 👇

1 | Efficiency through design. Make the choice as easy as possible for children by grouping similar items together on your wall. Theme together sports items, plush items, imagination items, etc. This allows them to find groups of product they are attracted to the most. In turn, speeding up the checkout process, which equals happy guests, happy parents, and happy team members! 😄

Read more about the importance of themes in your redemption program.


2 | Catering to all types of decision makers. Some guests will be better than others at making decisions — like those in the 5- to 6-year-old range. But the 5-and-under crowd deserve a good experience, too. How do you provide a satisfactory visit to the redemption area for all age ranges and decision skills?

Make your product assortment do the work for you. We talked about themes, but you also need a good array of ticket values within each theme or product category.

In this Game On theme display (we call them Storyboards) you’ll see prizes that start at 250 tickets and go up to 4000 tickets, and of course items in between that range.

This strategy satisfies guests who need instant gratification as well as those who maybe want to save their tickets for another visit or higher-ticket prize.

By providing an optimized ticket range to your guests you can take care of all types of decision makers.

3 | Commit to the experience. Allowing a child to make decisions on their own builds confidence and self-esteem. For guests who aren’t used to making decisions independently, your staff can create a positive memory by making them feel extra special. Customer service makes all the difference. Building up the significance of their choices increases the likelihood of making a loyal customer out of those guests.

Use these newly independent thinkers to your advantage by giving them an experience that goes beyond the transaction at the redemption counter. Try this book if you’re interested in learning more.

4 | Patience is a virtue. This is another lesson in customer service. There’s always going to be that Saturday afternoon when the line at the redemption counter is a mile long and you’re waiting on a child that just can’t make a choice. It’s important to serve her in a way that makes her happy but also gets to an end-point quickly. Ask her prompting questions. What kind of toys does she normally play with? What’s her favorite color? Does she like to play outside with friends or do crafts inside? These questions allow you to help her in a proactive way and ultimately get her to a decision.

Efficiencies are always going to make everyone happier; guests and your staff. The child can’t wait for instant gratification, the parent can’t wait to get out of there and your team member needs to help the next guest.

Build a culture that praises process observation and discovering efficiencies. What processes do your team members witness every day that could benefit from a more efficient way of doing things?

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