Although it is a personal decision to offer your child a reward for achieving something, it is important to fully understand the concept. There are some parents who swear by it while others are afraid of encouraging a sense of temporary obedience or entitlement. In most cases, it can be challenging to keep a child motivated without a reward for their hard work and dedication. Let’s discuss the pros, cons and alternatives to rewarding your little one’s achievements.
Household chores are often the best way in which to teach your child about responsibility. Helping out with the washing by measuring a cap of fabric conditioner, packing away their toys or feeding the pets can assist parents when it comes to teaching children about accountability. At the same time, parents are often tempted to reward their children for their help. This applies to admirable test results, sporting fixtures and cultural achievements. In return for their achievements, children are rewarded with material objects.
Our little ones are able to understand the concept of reward by the age of three, which means that parents would be required to set immediate goals for their toddlers. Saying ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ are examples of these goals. Parents instil the notion of reward without even realising that they are doing so.
Experts stand on either side of the playing field with some championing the reward system while others fight against it. Those who choose not to reward their children will relay two ideas. One of them is that rewards can lead to nagging, and the other is that rewards can prevent children from ‘doing the right thing’.
However, there are those who feel that children excel when they receive reward and recognition for their efforts. Young children thrive on praise and are more likely to complete a task voluntarily if they have previously been rewarded for it.
If communicated correctly, a reward can encourage a child to take the necessary risks in order to succeed. Instead of just giving a child a new book or toy for doing well in a test, parents can first talk to them and let the child know that they have done well and should feel proud of what they have achieved and, subsequently, present the reward.
Alternatively, you can make use of activities to reward your child for their efforts. Baking a cake, going for a hike or doing crafts are stimulating means of rewarding your little one. It is always important to ensure that they understand that what they have done is commendable and instead of relaying how proud you feel, encourage a sense of achievement within your child.
Creating a chart can remind young children of their achievements while setting goals is always a good thing to do as a family. Help your little one with setting realistic goals and talk about doing something fun as a family once they have achieved them.
Whether your little one is rewarded for pouring the right amount of fabric conditioner into the washing machine, or for achieving an admirable result on a test, ensure that you make them feel good about getting something right.