I am not a fan of giving kids rewards for learning because it makes them reliant on extrinsic motivators and instead of increasing the behavior, ‘expected rewards’ actually did the opposite. There have been many studies done on this phenomena over the years and at this point it is a psychological truism. However, there is a major caveat.
Surprise rewards may be ok
Children who are “taught to fish”, so to speak, get a sense of satisfaction from their hard work and it is that sense of satisfaction that motivates them to continue. As parents, we rob them of their pride in their work when we give them a treat for doing a good job. A simple acknowledgement of their hard work (I’ll discuss this at another time) is enough. The study above did find that surprise rewards to be motivating and that’s understandable because who doesn’t want to be recognized once in a while? However, there can be too much of a good thing so keep the rewards and praise to a minimum.
Free Six Flags tickets
For those of you who didn’t read, your little ones can get free Six Flag tickets for participating in the “Six Flags Read To Succeed” program. The bottom line, however, is that this should be a surprise reward. Don’t tell them about it until after they have read all the books. Here’s more information on the program:
Read to Succeed is an exciting program that encourages students in grades K through 6 to read for fun. Students who complete six hours of recreational reading earn a free ticket to Six Flags! The program is available to teachers and schools at no cost to participate, and it’s a great way to motivate kids to read. The program deadline is March 3, 2014 at 5pm CST.
Click here to sign your child up for the program.