Let’s reward and appreciate young people in our care when the need arises.
Reward and Recognition often falls under the the heading of positive reinforcement.
Do you know how important these two issues are in relation to your parenting journey? They are absolutely necessary. Recognition is a critical factor to interacting with our children, encouraging them to follow instructions, helping them to develop self-confidence, assisting with maintaining good mental and physical health.
Recognition goes beyond ‘thank you and well done!’ It requires firstly having a wonderful connection with your children which allows you to build trust.
This is important because when you recognise the good deed undertaken by your children and you demonstrate your acceptance and gratitude for the behaviour, the children will happily believe you. However, where connection and trust are lacking, no matter how you attempt to show recognition, the children will find it difficult to accept.
Children become disengaged, overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious in an environment where their faults and inability to accomplish tasks are regularly brought to their attention. Additionally when the adult, parent or caregiver makes no attempt to draw on the children’s strengths, fails to recognise and or reward good behaviour, hard work, kindness, independence, creativity, commitment, compassion and many other points that the children may have demonstrated or working towards achieving.
Parents and caregivers should give more thought to positively recognising important traits in children and avoid negative feedback. I am not in any way suggesting that poor behaviour should be rewarded or neglected. Far from it, what I am saying is that parents should reduce negative talking, increase positive talking and action bearing in mind the benefits derived from recognising and rewarding children for improvement in behaviour and putting into practice values that they have been taught.
Reward and Recognition are great tools in ‘creating’ a happy, healthy, emotionally stable and responsible individual.
Children and young people that have shown improvement in areas where they have previously struggled or have shown remarkable grit, perseverance, confidence, kindness, gratitude and any other skill or changed behaviour that has made you or others proud should receive appropriate reward and recognition for their hard work and or pleasant act. By recognising and rewarding such behaviour, you are displaying to the person the value that you place on their time, initiative, commitment and self- belief.
How will the child/ young person react to reward and recognition?
It is often assumed that all children and young people enjoy receiving rewards and recognition? Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some children including those with additional needs find it difficult to accept rewards and recognition. It is important if you are unsure to ask your child of they are happy to be rewarded and recognised for good work/behaviour. This will also serve as an incentive to those that will gladly accept it. For those that are uncomfortable with this notion, you should find out their reasons and how they would prefer to be rewarded and recognised when the need arises.
Flexibility and creativity are required. Whilst discussing with the child/young person, you may have to provide options and be flexible to allow for individuals’ preferences or personal circumstances.
You can agree with children/ young people in your care how and when they would be rewarded and acknowledged. The children and young people would be pleased that they had been consulted and their wishes taken into consideration.
Different forms of Recognition
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Tell them that you are proud and pleased with what they have done.
2. You can share the news of the child/young person’s achievement with family and friends.
3. You can give them a little gift that does not cost a lot which they will value.
4. You can take them out to their favourite place.
5. You can have family time together.
6. You can cook their favourite meal.
7. You can give them an extra hour or time on their gadget.
8. You can invite their chosen friend to the house.
9. They can be allowed to visit friends.
10. They can go to bed at a later time.
11. You can top up their pocket money for the week.
12. You can be creative and give them gifts made by you or you can decide to spend quality time doing things they enjoy.
13. You can give them a certificate created by you or purchased.
14. You can reward them with stickers.
The choice is yours and that of the young person to make.
For those that appreciate being acknowledged for their efforts and kind deeds, reward and recognition will not only put a smile on their faces but will inspire them to continue with their good deeds. Go right ahead and try it if you have never done so! If, however, you sometimes engage in rewarding and recognising those in your care but do not often to see the benefits associated with this practice, I recommend you try some of the points highlighted above. Do let me know how you get on.