Most of us know that it is important to praise our children but a lot of us don’t know the right way to praise them. We must understand the right way to praise our little ones.
Let’s find out the best way to praise our children. Honestly, this works not just for kids but also adults.
Before we get started let’s understand what praise is.
Praise is nothing but just a way of letting our children know that we like certain behaviors and we use phrases like well done, great job, etc to make them feel better.
Praise is a short-term tool that we use to get a long-term result. The long-term result is a permanent change in behavior that we wish to see in our children.
We say that praise is a short-term tool because we will praise a behavior till that behavior becomes natural to our children. You stop praising behavior that you see has become natural to your child. We don’t want to overdo it.
There are certain key elements of praise that we want to ensure that we are using while praising our children.
1. Praise with energy and enthusiasm
Our praise isn’t effective when done in a flat tone of voice without any energy and enthusiasm. We must show energy and little excitement when we praise our children.
2. Delayed praise loses its effect.
What this means is that if your child does something good like putting his toys back on the shelf, then you want to praise that behavior immediately after the action has taken place. Not wait till evening before you praise this act.
3. Use a lot of non-verbal components
Use non-verbal components like a hi-fi, a tap on the shoulder, a kiss on the cheeks, etc. This is going to make your child feel your happiness and they are more likely to repeat that behavior.
4. Praise small increments in behavior
Don’t wait for the behavior to change completely when you start to praise your child. Instead, notice small improvements in the behavior and then start to praise the small improvements. For instance, you want your child to color better. Don’t wait for your child to paint the perfect picture before you start to praise your child. You must start to notice the small everyday improvements in the coloring and mention that to your child. You could say something like “Wow! I love how you are getting better at coloring every day.”
5. Good Praise vs. Bad Praise
Bad praise focuses on what your child is and it leads to a fixed mindset and the “I am attitude.” Examples of bad praise, you are amazing, you are the best, you are always a winner, you are the prettiest girl in the world, etc. You don’t want to say these things to your child because it makes it difficult for them to adjust to different situations and new environments. If they find out that they are not the smartest person in the room they find it very difficult to accept it and also are poor at handling failures.
Good praise does not focus on what your child is, it instead focuses on what your child does. It focuses on the process and the effort and not on the outcome. For example, “I love how you are trying to use different colors”, “I love how you are trying to keep your room more organized”, “I love how you are approaching this problem”, etc. Notice that all of these good praises have an action word in them and are focused on the effort instead of what your child is or the perfect outcome.
Good praise leads to a growth mindset. Children with a growth mindset are ready to explore, experiment, and try harder to improve their results. They are more flexible, adaptable, and willing to learn from others. They understand that through effort and trying different approaches they can turn their failures into success.
We all want our children to have a growth mindset because a growth mindset allows for change.
6. Praise has to be authentic
We must completely avoid false praise. We should not praise our children if we don’t see any improvement or change in behavior. This is going to send out the wrong message to them and they are not going to try and show any improvement.
7. Maintain the right balance
Now that we know that it is important to praise our little ones and that how we must praise them, let’s find out how often to praise our children.
We should not be praising everything that our little ones do. Instead, we must praise only those behaviors that we would like to see more of in our children. For example, if you want your child to put the toys back on the shelf we must appreciate every time I child shows an effort to put his toys back on the shelf. We will not praise behavior that the child is already doing.
It is also important to have the right balance between praise and correction if we wish to raise confident kids. We must not always correct our children. Every correction should be compensated with two to three positive remarks. Too much correction and very little praise can lead to reduced self-esteem and confidence.