Parents praise and encouragement will help children feel good about themselves. This boosts their self-esteem and confidence. Finding ways to compliment your children can be a very valuable parenting tool. So often we are focused on what our children have done wrong. This week focus on what your children have done right and give them an appropriate compliment.
Tips for using praise, encouragement and rewards
Help build your child’s self-esteem and encourage good behavior with these tips:
- When you feel good about your child, say so. See if you can give your child some words of encouragement every day. The small things you say can build up over time to have a big effect on your child.
- Try to praise more than you criticize. As a guide, try to praise your child six times for every one time you say something negative.
- Look for little changes and successes. Rather than waiting until your child has done something perfectly to give a compliment, try to praise any effort or improvement.
- Accept that everyone’s different. Praise your child for her unique strengths and encourage her to develop and feel excited about her particular interests. This will help her develop a sense of pride and confidence.
- Surprise your child with a reward for good behavior. For example, ‘Thanks for picking up the toys – let’s go to the park to celebrate’.
- Praise effort as well as achievement. Recognize and praise how hard your child is trying – for example, ‘You worked really hard on that essay’ or ‘Thank you for remembering to hang your coat on the peg’.
- Try to make your praise dependent on your child’s behavior, rather than your feelings. You might find that the more you look for good behavior to praise, the more positive you’ll feel (and the more good behavior you’ll see).