Is the reward method good for our children?


By: Kindergarten teachers

Most of the parents wonder about how the “reward method” works or even concern about the outcome. Therefore, let’s discuss the “reward method.”

Behaviors are more likely to happen again when followed by a positive consequence like a reward. This is true for all behaviors, even those you don’t want to happen again. Rewards are important for many reasons because it can encourage a child’s good behaviors, increase their self-esteem, and the most important thing is reward can improve the relationship between parents and children.

There are several types of rewards and the most common type is social rewards which more powerful than material rewards. These are types of social rewards that can be done in daily routine:

  1. Affection – includes hugs, kisses, a high five, a smile, a pat on the back, or an arm around the shoulder.
  2. Praise – Praise happens when parents say things like “Great job,” “Way to go,” or “Good boy/girl.” However, specific (or labeled) praise tells a child exactly what behavior you liked. Examples of labeled praise are: 
    1. “Great job playing quietly while I was on the telephone!”
    2. “You were a great helper when you put all your toys in the closet today!”
  3. Attention and Activities –Extra time with you or a special activity can be a powerful reward for young children. Some examples include playing a favorite game, reading a story, and helping with dinner. Other activities like going to the movies or the zoo can also be used, but these activities may not always be available or affordable.

In short, rewarding kids for meeting certain goals is often effective. It can help them know what to do and feel acknowledged and compensated for their hard work. Parents see rewards as a way to get kids going in the right direction on the path to establishing good habits. And getting rewards releases chemicals in the brain that make a person feel good, so parents see their kids are happy. On the other hand, there’s also the issue of rewarding kids for things they’re already motivated to do. This can undermine the intrinsic value of the activity for the child—who may no longer want to do that activity without a reward; that it makes kids feel entitled and materialistic. The reward method is great if parents could apply it appropriately and would somehow give negative consequences if it’s too frequent. Thus, we should be wiser.


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