Parenting experts tell us that it is important to praise your children regularly, and that praise effects behavior patterns more than discipline does. And one of the best ways to show your love and concern to your children is to give them positive feedback. Here are some tips and ideas about effectively praising your child.
Time Required: Just a few minutes at a time
- Tell the child specifically what they are doing, or what they did, that you are happy with. For example, "Taylor, I appreciate how you are sharing your toys with Steve." Or, "Kara, it made me feel good today when I saw you go out of your way to clean up after your little sister."
- When you praise them, make direct eye contact so they know they have your full attention. Giving them a little pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of their hand or arm will further reinforce your positive feedback.
- Make sure the comment you make is all positive. Sometimes as parents, we may be tempted to insert a little sarcasm or negativity. Have you ever found yourself saying something like "Good job on cleaning up the yard, Sam. After all my nagging, it's about time you did it on your own." Leave out the negatives and your child will hear real praise.
- Consider using a double dose of praise. This one you can do with your partner or another adult. First, praise the child alone. Then, later, tell your partner or another adult about the good deed. Then, the other adult gives positive feedback also. This "double dose" concept sends an extra strong message of positive reinforcement.
- You can also praise with non-verbal methods. A hug, a smile, a wink, or a pat on the shoulder can also communicate love, acceptance and appreciation.
- Try to find at least three opportunities every day to praise your child. The more praise, the better.
- Often, children need attention; even negative attention is better than no attention at all. Giving frequent praise can avoid the need for children to act out inappropriately to get parental attention.
- Always try to reprimand in private, but praise in public.