Jennifer Ross is our Matthew's Ministry Program Director. Matthew's Ministry is Church of the Resurrection's awareness, outreach and support ministry for persons with special needs and their families.
As a parent and I teacher, I know the value of a good reward system. Even in the workplace, employees are motivated by rewards (financial and verbal).
As educators and parents, we get into ruts and use the same rewards that lose their effectiveness over time. When we continue to say “good work”, “Nice job”, in time, it is just noise to the children. However, when we identify the action that we are praising, it has more meaning. “I like the way you walked down the hall with your hands to yourself” is more meaningful than “nice job” or even “nice job walking”.
With a number of our students, we use intentional verbal rewards, such as, “I like how you shared that toy with your classmate (using their names here)” as so many of our students struggle with sharing. Another example, “thank you for telling me what you need” rather than hitting or grabbing.
If we keep our verbal praise fresh and intentional, we will reap a greater harvest! Today I wanted to share 100 ways to praise a child.