So often or so, parents and teachers appreciate children over school performance, home activities or proving good discipline until it becomes like a must that every good deed of a child is to be awarded.
Dr Alphonse Sebaganwa, a lecturer and researcher at University of Rwanda’s College of Education and an expert in human behaviour and child’s education reveals to IGIHE the best ways of appreciating a child while avoiding covet for gifts.
Appreciation can be done by using a word of mouth, symbolic or material gifts in order to please and encourage a child to perform or behave even better.
Types of appreciation
- A congratulating word of mouth such as ‘well done’, ‘you are a good child’, among others, is important.
- Some symbolic actions like clapping for a child, getting them seated in the best seat in a classroom for a while can be part of appreciation. A teacher can place a better chair than the rest in classroom and leave it for the best performers in any exercise. A nice medal can also be used in classroom to be worn by a best performer for some minutes.
- Material gifts such as foodstuffs, drinks, school materials, clothes and more can also be offered to a child for appreciation.
Dr Sebaganwa says that appreciation in the first category shows the affection that a teacher or parent has for a child and that encourages a child to happily do as they instruct. He adds that parents and teachers should not appreciate everything good that a child does.
“A child should be told well about the purpose of an exercise, its importance to themselves and other people so that the child does it without expecting appreciation or gifts,” he says.
Appreciation in the second category shows the honour that a child earns from excellent performance or improvement in their performance compared to the previous.
“For example, if a child improves from 2 to 6 out of 10 marks, they deserve better appreciation than a child who goes from 7 to 8 out of 10,” he says.
About giving a temporary tenure of seat of honour or a medal to a child, Dr Sebaganwa says that this kind of appreciation develops confidence of a child and gets courage to keep up the good work.
Appreciation in the third category which is commonly used at school and home carry some bad effects when parents or teachers are not careful about that kind of appreciation.
Dr Sebaganwa urges parents and teachers to always explain to children that they should not expect gifts at any performance because those gifts often make children covet them instead of having the courage to perform better.
Beware parents and teachers!
Dr Sebaganwa says that appreciating a child can do more harm than good whenever it is wrongly done.
“Every kind of appreciation is good when it is well done and in the right time. A child’s good performance or special behaviour should be appreciated but not very often because it can spoil a child and start expecting appreciation at anything. If that becomes routine, a child can stop performing when they feel they do not need appreciation,” he says.
A child should be trained to understand that their good performance does not bring immediate rewards but think about long-term benefits and that their performance will benefit not only themselves but also other people.
Dr Sebaganwa concludes saying that appreciating a child must be timely with the aim of encouraging them and urges parents to explain to children about anything they do for them to let children understand the purpose.