There’s no substitute for the feeling one gets from being generous. Even though it is hard for little kids to share, they catch on to that feeling. We want kids to develop this generous nature but I do not think we should reward them with gifts. I award my day care friends with a kind word and a hug. By giving kids rewards of tangible objects, we are sending the message that they get some thing for all their kindness. Isn’t what we want them to learn that kindness is its own reward?
I’ve had fun through the years training my pet dogs. I am no expert but I have read and studied about dog training. At the risk of sounding weird, I think toddler training and puppy training are very similar. I’ve noticed that the commands that I use are the same. Sit,stay,wait,come,good boy, are applicable to kids.
Kids and dogs both want the same thing. Positive attention is their favorite reward. They just really want to please their care giver more than anything.
My Jack Russell Terrier can be a stubborn little cus. I’ll let him out,once in awhile, in the middle of one of these balmy nights to do his business. I can tell he would prefer to linger. On occasion, I have lost my cool and growled at him to hurry up! I finally found the key. I start praising him in a gentle voice. “Come on my good boy.” “That’s MY good boy”. Works every time. I follow it with a few warm pats. (offering him a piece of ham never worked.) The essence is to make him want to come in. I use our friendship as the prize and he deems that a great trade.
My favorite prize for my children is a comment, “You made me smile!” or “I can tell that that made you feel good. Way to go!” A kind word and a hug is a very powerful tool when it is sincere. Certainly, it is rewarding to all!