“mini yogis minute” tip of the week
Reward systems are great for keeping kids interested and excited in your classes. Whether it’s stickers or hand stamps, fruit snacks or bracelets, children absolutely love their prizes.
But teachers often wind up using their giveaways as thinly veiled, kid-friendly bribes instead of rewards.
Here’s the thing: if you overuse your prizes, kids will take them for granted. Instead of earning them with good behavior and effort, they feel they are entitled to them just for showing up. In my experience, it also fosters a particular kind of greed, where prizes are hoarded.
As you know, one of the yamas of the Yoga Sutra is aparigraha, or non-greed. Showering children with gifts for no apparent reason actually encourages greed and largely runs in direct opposition to what yoga preaches.
If you want to use rewards in a way that conforms to yogic standards, use them as just that: rewards.
Reward them for good listening, for good behavior, for good effort. But do not reward them for poor listening, behavior, or effort.
If your students are good all the time (hallelujah!), still, do not give them prizes every class. Prizes should be a special treat for special efforts…a treat that they can look forward to for being extra amazingly awesome, rather than an entitlement that they come to ravenously expect like a narcotic each time they see you.
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