I ran across this quote:
“Praise distracts from what really builds self-esteem. Feeling good about ourselves does not come from being told that we are great. It comes from from doing great things.”
When I was in the 5th grade, I received a trophy for my baseball team. We tried really hard and, well, we stunk. We came in DEAD LAST. Everyone knew it. But at our Straw Hat pizza party, everyone got a trophy. It was bigger than the one I got the year before when our team came in first place.
Even at a young age, I understood there is something wrong with that. I actually keep it as a memento of the silliness.
So, we must be careful not to just reward every little thing.
The way we help our students is not to just give them rewards for showing up, or empty praise, but giving them opportunities to succeed. For some students, the bar may be a little lower, but it is no less meaningful if they worked hard to succeed and did something great.
THEY WILL KNOW IF IT IS FAKE.
They have a built-in BS detecter. They are not dumb. This coming year, find new ways to help your student (or child) to succeed in a meaningful way AND then celebrate THAT victory.