I approach many lessons with my children the same way I did in my own classroom as a teacher. More than that, I teach them lessons that reinforce my philosophy about the world and the kind of citizen I aim to be. Part of that, whether it involves bringing home their best report card or improving on their last one, includes a celebration in the form of a reward (or, looking at it another way, the reward of a celebration).
We expect our children to do their best in school. It’s a team effort: we have regular conferences with their teachers, and I participate in daily communication with them through our kids’ school planners. Once their work has been graded and sent home, we review it with the kids, sign it and return it to their teachers. There aren’t usually any big surprises when progress reports and report cards come home. However, there are often one or two areas that stand out from the rest, because their marks indicate they’ve exceeded expectations, improved in an area in which they may have previously struggled, or even lost some ground academically.
We’re on it like white on rice. The kids don’t get punished for falling behind. Instead, they receive extra work and we focus our efforts a little more in that area. They also receive hugs from me for the hard work they’ve done and the hard work they continue to do. But if we’ve set a goal to improve a specific area in which they’ve required extra effort, and if they meet that goal, there is a reward — anything from a special trip to get ice cream to a game they’ve wanted for the past year. It can even be monetary.
You want to know why it works? Read the rest here.