Holiday time can be a loving time and, at the same time, the most materialistic period that our children go through each year.
Sometimes it’s good to reinforce that the most important things in life do not always involve the exchange of dollars.
It’s so easy for a parent to reach for some money or a piece of candy as a reward for good grades or extra effort.
But there are much better ways to show gratitude and pride. The National PTA insists that “hugs, kisses, and compliments are worth more than anything money can buy.”
In fact, some of the best incentives don’t cost any money at all, but continue to reap rewards year after year.
You’d be surprised how much more staying power hugs have, or pats on the back, smiles, or extra attention.
Reading together could be another reward. It’s a gift that brings you close to your children.
Also, compliments have much more impact when they are given face to face, or said to others loud enough so that the child can hear them. It can also be effective to hold family testimonial dinners for children.
The successes can cover any special contribution — doing household chores, helping someone in your neighborhood, or meeting a goal. Be specific about the good things happening in your child’s life.
It’s never too early to underscore for children that many of the best things in life are not “things” at all, but attitudes and actions that show kindness, concern, and appreciation.