When I was a kindergarten teacher, I was always amazed at how many children expected to get something for every little thing they did. I did not believe in using whole class behavior plans and I certainly did not reward my students for doing what they were supposed to do. I did have a few children each year who needed an individual behavior plan of some kind, but they never got rewards for their behavior beyond a sticker if they even got that. I was not going to contribute to their need to be rewarded. I would rather send a note home that told the parents about a good day, or give out high fives or a "pat on the back" than give them a prize.
With the exception of potty training, I have not rewarded my children for their behavior. And, they don't expect it! We can go to the store and not buy them something and there are no tears. I'm not saying they don't ask, but they don't usually get anything. They get candy, toys, computer time, stickers and such just cause, not as a reward.
My goal is for them to become self-motivated and find rewards in the accomplishments not in the rewards accumulated because of the accomplishments, or worse the rewards given for the expected. This is becoming evident lately.
When I began potty training Blake this final time, I gave in and rewarded him with Monster Trucks and then dinosaurs. But, at the time I felt like I had to step out of the box and do something to get his attention. I needed to do something that he didn't expect. Once he began to understand how the process works we went to high fives and whoohoo's I'm proud of you. That is what he is looking for now. He doesn't ask for trucks or dinosaurs after he goes the bathroom. He comes out and say "I did it all myself!" He will ask for a high five or say "proud of me?" or "say way to go mommy". I also hear Colby saying these things when he does things on his own too. They are proud of themselves and want Richard and I to be proud of them too. My pride for them is free to give, but what's most important is that they are proud of themselves!