Top 5 Ways to Praise your Kids!
Lately parents are becoming more addicted to praising your kids. But as you try to make them feel good about themselves 24-7, you actually may be harming them. When you applaud your child for things that aren’t true achievements (she goes down the slide or hangs up her coat without your help), she’ll begin to expect praise all the time, which diminishes its power. Some say overpraising a child can get her hooked on success and celebration instead of being satisfied by her own accomplishment. Even if your praise is sincere, you may not be using it the right way. If your compliments tend to be about you (“I think you did a great job”) rather than about your child (“I’ll bet you’re proud of yourself”), she’ll start to look for your approval every time she does something.But that doesn’t mean you should drop praise from your disciplinary playbook. If you use it the right way, it’s a valuable tool for reinforcing good behavior, boosting your child’s self-esteem, and making her feel loved, appreciated, and inspired. We have listed you a top 5 ways to praise your kids!
1. Focus on the effort not the end result & get Specific
Remember the old chestnut, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game?” That thinking applies here. If your child kicks the winning goal at his soccer game, instead of emphasizing the goal, a better option is to praise him for his dedication to the game and giving it his best shot. Zero in on a particular action rather than saying a generic “good job.” A specific compliment tells your child that you’re paying attention and gives him a concrete example of the behavior or attitude you’re hoping to perpetuate. The next time your little one calmly asks his sister for a turn with a toy instead of yanking it out of her hands, praise the kind way he handled the situation so he knows you noticed.
2. Be genuine & Give compliments when they’re earned
Skip the superlatives most kids know they’re not “the best” artist, athlete or student ever. Likewise, if your child is struggling with a task—for example, playing a new piece on the piano, don’t offer false praise such as, “It sounded good to me.” It’s better to say, “I can see you’re really working hard on that song.” Kids are masters at detecting insincere praise, and instead of giving them the boost you’re intending, it can make them question your credibility. You don’t have to be stingy, but don’t overdo it or you risk conditioning your child to expect applause for every little action. While you might praise her the first time she loads the dishwasher by herself, you don’t need to strike up the band every time she puts in a dirty dish. A simple “thanks for your help” will make her feel good because she knows you appreciate her contribution.
3. Point out the positives & Don’t overdo it
It’s easy to fall into the pattern of pointing out your child’s mistakes while overlooking his little successes, says Hartley-Brewer. But when you make an extra effort to praise your child’s achievements and good behavior, you’ll help reinforce them. When you notice that your child is being kind to a younger child, you can let them know it. You can tell him that he should be proud of themselves inspires him to do the same thing again. When your toddler puts his pants on by himself for the first time, it’s worth making a big deal about it. But gushing over everyday achievements (“You finished your carrots — yay!”) will cause your child to discount praise he’s truly earned. It may also make him feel he constantly has to do things to impress you.
4. Share his achievements with your spouse & Avoid sarcasm
While you shouldn’t boast about your child in front of your friends, there’s no need to hold back when you’re at home. In fact, making your spouse aware of your child’s achievement can be good for him, says Lawrence Balter, PhD, professor of applied psychology at New York University, in New York City. Just try not to say it in front of your other kids, so they don’t feel slighted. . Don’t poison praise with snarky comments (“Who would have guessed you’d finish an entire meal without staining your clothes?” or “Finally, you learned to ride a bike without training wheels”). Children may not get your attempt at humor, and pointing out past failings is really a form of criticism. Simply celebrate the event (“How does it feel to eat neatly, like a big boy?” or “I’ll bet you can’t wait to show your friends that you can ride a bike”). Kids just need to know what it is they’re doing right.
5. Tell the truth & Use body language
Even young kids can see right through false praise. Your best strategy is to be honest and diplomatic when commenting on your child’s ability. “If she’s learning to dive and does an awkward belly flop, don’t say, ‘What a beautiful dive’. A better script: “I see you’re working on your diving.” By not defining the action as good or bad, you’re being truthful while letting your child know she has your attention. Nonverbal cues are a great way to express your approval. When your face lights up with a grin or you high-five your child for cleaning their room for example, he knows how you feel about their accomplishment. A smile or a hug can also be less distracting than words. If you say, ‘You’re reading so well,’ your child will stop to look up at you. But if you give him a gentle rub on the back, he’ll get the message that you’re proud of him and keep reading.