One afternoon this whole problem really came to life for me when my oldest got in the car after her after school program. She was playing with a little toy. I asked how she had come about the toy and we informed she got to select it from the prize bin for helping clean up the crayons. What?! Given a toy for completing an activity and then putting it away?! Around here that's just a part of the process... You complete a task/play/chore/etc. before moving to something new. Well, that made me really take a look at everything in our extracurricular activities. Here's some of the things I discovered: candy for walking quietly down a hall, rewards for listening in class, and trophies for everyone on every sports team of the same size.
Now, please don't misunderstand me. I believe there is nothing wrong with commending a child for doing well (ie aren't you proud? Look how neatly you stacked our blocks! Etc.) but shouldn't we be teaching them to feel proud for a job well done without needing external approval or material reward?
We should be building self efficacy not just self esteem. A belief from within them to complete tasks and reach goals. Sure, we can train a child with candy and rewards but what does the child learn? Instead of learning "I should walk quietly in the halls out of respect for the other classes who are learning" they learn, " If I can stay quite until I reach my room I know I'll get candy." Or, instead of thinking, "let me help clean up these crayons to keep my classroom beautiful" they think, "maybe my teacher will see me and I can get a prize from the prize box."
Help raise a child who can find value in a job well done without the material and external and I believe those are the children who will grow to have not only self motivation but also see the full picture and not just the soul desire of reward.