Praising your child is one of the best ways of encouraging positive behaviour and giving your child a strong sense of self. Below are some tips on how to praise in a way that will have a really positive benefit on your child and the relationship between the two of you.
- Be specific. Instead of saying things like, “You’re such a good boy”, try “I really like the way you helped Aoife when she fell. You showed such kindness and caring.”
- Notice the small things. Children love to be noticed and part of our job as parents is to help give them a strong sense of themselves. By commenting on the small things (“You got dressed all by yourself-you’re getting so independent!” or “You really seemed to love working out in the garden-you have such a love of nature”), children will feel that they are really seen and valued.
- Praise Effort, Not Outcomes. Instead of saying, “You did great on your maths test-you are so clever”, say something like, “I saw how hard you worked on your maths– you have really learned so much.” This will help them to see the value of effort and hard work; focusing only on the outcome can give them a fear of failure and make them less willing to try unless they are certain they can succeed.
- Be sincere. Don’t overdo praise (“You are the best piano player in the whole world!”). Children can see through this easily, and they won’t be sure when your praise is really sincere. Giving specific, sincere praise will give them a much greater sense of self and will strengthen the bonds between the two of you.