While you certainly want your children to do the right thing without feeling like they’re entitled to anything in return, it doesn’t hurt to reward positive behavior or to acknowledge a job well done.
You don’t want to go overboard since doing so can lead to a sense of entitlement, and you also want to avoid relying on rewards that can be detrimental to your children’s health. Even so, that doesn’t mean that you can’t allow them to indulge from time to time in things like sweets.
Here are two things to consider when it comes to rewarding your children without spoiling them.
- Indulge From Time to Time
If your children help the little old lady across the street to rake her front yard, take the time to walk the neighbor’s dog, or bring home report card with straight A’s, it doesn’t hurt to pull out all the stops to acknowledge appreciation for their good deeds or hard work. So, by all means, order that pizza with extra cheese for mealtime or buy some candy or chocolate to satiate their sweet teeth. If done in moderation and only every now and again, your children will not come to expect a reward for doing what they should be doing or what is expected of decent, law-abiding citizens. You should rely on verbal praise and encouragement to reinforce good behavior while only on occasion allowing your children to indulge in their favorite snacks. If you generally ensure that they have healthy, balanced meals, you won’t have to worry unduly about the occasional indulgence. And while you’re at it, don’t forget about the importance of proper dental health. Remind your kids of the importance of brushing their teeth multiple times a day, of flossing, and of using mouthwash. It goes without saying that you’ll have to help younger children to do these things properly, but they should be informed of the importance of proper dental care, particularly after eating sweets.
- Praise & Encouragement
While giving your children things as rewards can be a good idea from time to time, you should lean more towards giving them praise and encouragement for good behavior or notable accomplishments. Using praise, you can help your children to feel good about themselves, and it can be an effective way for you to underscore what you deem to be good behavior and to encourage more of the same. In addition to praise, there is also encouragement. You can encourage your children by acknowledging when they have worked hard to finish their science project or to put away their toys, and this can encourage them to work even harder the next time. While praise and encouragement are important, however, you should endeavor to ensure that your children develop a healthy self-esteem and positive self-image so that they understand that their sense of worth is not merely rooted in what others have to say about them.
Yes, you can strike the right balance between health and rewards for kids. While you’ll want to go heavy on the praise and encouragement as well as light on the calorie-rich consumables, you don’t want to deprive your children of the sweets and other things they like to eat. Just make sure that your children know that you love them unconditionally — and you’ll see how well they respond.