One of the greatest things that we can teach our children is to feel internal rewards for things that they have done instead of expecting food or money as a reward. It teaches them to;
- Make themselves happy rather than relying on external rewards to make them feel good which will make them more resilient and less likely to be depressed.
- Be self-motivated towards achieving their goals.
- Feel rewarded whether someone else recognises their achievements or not.
- They will not feel the need to post all of the things that they do daily on social media because they do not require reactions to feel good about themselves.
- Be more inclined to do things because they feel good about it rather than because they feel that they have to – as parents, we won’t need to keep asking them to do things, they will just do it.
- Believe in themselves.
- Feel gratitude.
- Be more compassionate and kind towards other people because they feel internally good when they are.
- When they feel down they will be able to make themselves feel better instead of reaching for comfort food or going on a shopping spree.
How do we give them internal rewards?
- When they do something good, ask them how it has made them feel.
- Tell them that you are proud of them and then ask them how that makes them feel about themselves.
- Tell them how they have made you feel when they do something good.
- Rather than giving them a food treat for playing sport, tell them what good they have done for their body and mind, that they played great and that they should feel very pleased with themselves – ask them to ‘feel’ pleased, maybe place their hand on their heart and feel the happiness that being part of a team and being active makes them feel.
- Rather than giving them money for doing chores explain to them that when they have done a chore they are helping to make the family unit run well, and that what they do is an important part to a happy family.
- Get them to do chores! This is how they grow up to be thoughtful adults that other people want to live with.
- Tell them that they do not need ‘rewards’ for doing something, that the reward is how it makes them feel inside, that lasts a lot longer & is far more beneficial than an external reward.
Please think next time before you give an external reward to a child – is there another way that you could reward them? Could you provide them with an internal reward that will help them to live a better life and cope with life better as an adult?