Nurturing Your Little One's Internal Reward System

Nurturing Your Little One's Internal Reward System

“The reward of work is to have produced something; the reward of effort is to have grown by it.”― Antonin Sertillanges.

One of the greatest rewards of having a child is getting to help them blossom into a wonderful human being, which means teaching them good habits, values, and ideas.

These may even make you question some of your own habits―but nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, right? It makes it understandable that instilling good values and habits is also one of the hardest things to do. So, we put together some easy tricks and tips for you and your little ones.

ROUTINE | Create a Checklist with Achievable Tasks.
You can create it with your kids and make it a fun activity. See what they like to do, what they might need to learn, and what they are interested in. You can also ask them to make tasks for you. Perhaps they might like to play hide and seek with you, or have you sew an old toy up.

REWARDS | Create an Internal Reward System
Some reward systems offer golden stars, an allowance, or screen time. While these are great motivations for kids, it has one major drawback⁠—the rewards become the main value. So when there is no external reward, what motivation do they have to clean, be good, and treat each other nicely?

What we really want is for them to value a clean room, being polite, or getting along with their siblings. So how do we do that? By creating a positive internal emotional reward system.

REASON | Highlight The True Benefits
A positive reinforcement highlights the true reason and reward of doing a task.

  • Putting your toys away → so you won’t lose them.
  • Reading a book → so you can visit new worlds.
  • Brushing the dogs → so their fur is nice and clean.
  • Making your own bed → so you can enjoy a tidy room.
  • Keeping small toys organized → so your little sister can be safe.
  • Putting your food in the compost → so the tiny worms can grow.
  • Don’t pick all the flowers → so the bees can have something to eat. 

PRAISES | Encourage Pride At A Job Well Done.
Little praises here and there help them develop their own pride in doing a good job. Which also helps make the job more rewarding. 

  • Making the bed → “Wow, you made your bed look so tidy. How did you do it?”
  • Brushing their hair → “Well done, you did it! You are looking very nice now.”
  • Cleaning up an area → “What a great job you have done, now there is so much more space to play. Doesn’t that make you happy?”

RESISTANCE | Rules For Long-Term Success

  1. Don’t Praise Too Much | Reserve it for first or special times, then come to expect good behavior. Otherwise, praises will lose their gusto. 
  2. Try Different Ways of Praise | Helping them acknowledge all the different types of benefits for their actions, such as making others feel good, or made something survive longer. 
  3. Reinforce Their Growth | You can also reinforce how they have unlocked a new ability to do something by themself or are getting better at something. This helps create a sense of independence and aspiration to grow. 
  4. Choose Good Times | No one likes to do chores when they are enjoying doing something already, hungry or in a bad mood. Pick prime opportunities to ask them to do something. 
  5. Find Out Their True Resistance | If they are adamantly saying no, and not doing what they are asked. Don’t reward them if they do it, ask them what is holding them back and work on a solution from there. 
  6. Offer to Help | If all else fails, offer to help them. This makes the job a bit more fun and a lot less daunting.
  7. Relax Your Standards | Kids aren’t perfect and their chores might be done poorly, but it’s their effort that counts. Over time we can show better ways and help improve their ability. But try not to criticize or micro-manage their attempts as it will demotivate them. 
  8. Show Your Appreciation | A simple thank you goes a long way and makes others feel good. Everyone likes to be appreciated, even if they don’t expect a reward. 

Share Your Golden Advice Below
Every parenting style is different. Have you developed your own special tips and tricks?
Perhaps some values or habits that have helped your children truly blossom?

We would love it if you shared those golden nugs in the comments below. 

With Love,
Dreams Jumper. 
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