Sometimes children seek approval, acceptance, or an award by asking, “Did I do good? Did I do good?” I often hear this in my tutoring sessions. The parent has told them that if they do well in the tutoring session, they will get a reward afterwards.
Giving children rewards is great. We all enjoy being acknowledged for a job well done. That said, it is important to teach our children that the reward is in doing what is right, not in the toy, the treat, or the special privilege that is given to them as a result of what they have done.
Rather than say, “Yes, you did well today,” turn the question around and place it in their own court to answer for themselves.
“Did you do this work with excellence? If so, then you did well.”
“Did you stay focused and use your time wisely? If you can answer yes, then you did a great job.”
“Did you stop and listen to the directions first?”
“Did you write in your best handwriting? If your answer is yes, then you did well.”
The goal is to teach children how to evaluate for themselves their work ethic and effort. Teach them to determine their own level of success. Teach them to gauge whether or not they did a good job by evaluating their own attitude, time management, focus, and dedication toward the task. Help them to find greater joy and a lasting appreciation in a job well done than in a toy or a treat that only lasts for a short time.