Preschool is the best time to teach children about the concept of reward for positive reinforcement and instil the spirit of giving. At Noddy by Elizabeth, a leading international preschool in Bangkok, we believe in nurturing these values as part of our holistic child development programme.
Let’s explore how parents can effectively motivate and encourage new desirable or positive behaviours as well as new skills with appropriate rewards and instil in children the value of generosity and empathy.
Rewarding young children is a powerful tool in reinforcing a positive or desired behaviour and action. We’ll share some advice on how to establish an effective reward system:
- Be clear and specific on an expected behaviour or new skill you would like children to practise. Involve them in decision-making and let them have a say in what rewards they’d like to work towards. This gives them a sense of ownership, control and investment in their behaviour. As the child makes progress, make the reward harder to obtain and agree on it.
- Praise the effort or the process and not just the result or outcome. Doing this fosters confidence and a growth mindset, helping children learn the importance of hard work and perseverance.
- Be specific with your compliments. Instead of giving general praise, point out what specific action or behaviour you’re praising. For instance, when children show generosity, acknowledge it. This reinforcement makes them feel good about their actions and encourages them to continue. You may say: “I like how you shared your toys with your sister today.”
- Use a reward chart with age-appropriate, attainable, and clear goals and a variety of rewards. Having a visual chart where children can see their progress towards a reward will help keep them motivated. Aside from material rewards like toys and treats, use other types of rewards that give them a sense of control or strengthen family bonding such as extra playtime with parents, extra books at bedtime, or a visit to the park together.
- Balance immediate and delayed gratification. While immediate rewards are effective for younger children, introducing delayed gratification to obtain a more valued reward helps them develop patience, self-regulation and long-term goal-setting skills.
- Be consistent in what you reward to reinforce the positive behaviour or new skill. Children will understand the value of that positive action or effort and eventually do it themselves, even without a reward. However, be cautious not to overuse rewards. The aim is to encourage intrinsic motivation where the child behaves well, not just for a reward but because it’s the right thing to do.
How to Cultivate the Spirit of Giving in Children
Teaching children positive behaviours involves helping them develop empathy and consideration for others. It’s about nurturing empathy, compassion, and social responsibility from a young age. You can have discussions to introduce the concept and talk about the joy of receiving and giving to understand the full circle of generosity.
One of the simplest ways to cultivate compassion and sharing in children is to set an example. For instance, volunteer during the Christmas season and involve them in charitable activities such as donation drives. You can also show them the joy of giving by letting them help select and wrap presents for family, friends, or those in need.
The Importance of Cultivating the Spirit of Giving in Preschool Children
Developing a spirit of giving in young children is crucial for their socio-emotional development. It builds empathy and helps children understand the feelings and needs of others, fostering empathy and compassion. It also enhances social skills since giving and sharing, which are fundamental aspects of social interaction.
Encouraging children to serve their community instills a sense of belonging and responsibility towards others. Studies show that giving and being in service of others increases happiness, promotes a sense of fulfillment, and develops self-esteem in young children.
Nurturing Environment at Noddy by Elizabeth
Teaching children about the concept of reward and instilling the spirit of giving requires patience and consistency. Parents can guide their children towards positive social behaviours and emotional well-being by being a role model, setting up a proper reward system and nurturing the values of empathy and generosity,
At Noddy by Elizabeth, we integrate these concepts into our learning-through-play approach to provide opportunities for young children to learn ways to share and cooperate. Our environment is designed to promote developmental milestones that foster a love and joy of learning in young children. Additionally, our child-led and teacher-guided curriculum focuses on academic learning and on building well-rounded individuals who will grow up to be confident, empathetic, and socially responsible. Book a school tour to witness and experience more.