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How To Praise Children's Efforts And Achievements

we're gonna be talking about how to praise children's efforts and achievements. In this article, we're gonna be talking about praise and what makes good praise, what's productive praise, what's not productive praise, and then we're also going to be talking about how you can praise your children that will motivate them to want to do more good things. 

So, let's talk about praise. You know you should praise your children 6-10 times for every 1 time that you correct them and I want you to think how often do you correct your children in a day and then think how often do you praise your child in a day and what is that praise all about? Is that praise about how beautiful they look or how much you love them or is it something about what they actually did? So, I teach self-government. When a parent is going to teach their child self-government, then that parent needs to recognize that the child needs to learn cause and effect. 

That's the way that we help from the pre-frontal cortex of the brain so that the child learns self-government for a lifetime. So, how do you learn cause and effect with praise? Well, you have to be able to associate some of your actions or your efforts toward whatever the outcome was. In fact, that's going to lead to the best and most productive type of praise anyway. Some praise is just not productive. If you're constantly telling your child, you're the most beautiful this, you're just perfect at this, you're amazing at this, you're a genius. 

Those are just labeled that you're slapping on a person and they know because they've seen other beautiful people that they're not the most beautiful, they know that they're not a genius because maybe they don't have over 140 IQ, they know these things so when you say that they're like well, that's nice and it kind of even feels good but that doesn't mean it really rings true. In fact, I do think that because of the wrong type of praise has received over the years, that we actually have developed a problem where children are perfectionists and they think they have to be the genius, the perfect, the amazing, the expert all of the time when in reality, just being a normal person is good enough. 

So, how do we teach our children to really thrive at being normal people and to achieve their best possible version of themselves? Well, a lot of that happens through praise. So, what are the pieces that make great praise? Piece number 1 is describing. Instead of reacting to what a person did emotionally by saying something like wow! You're so incredible, instead, it's best to start with a description and to describe their effort or their action. Instead of calling them the best, tell them you saw what they did, you saw that they tried, you saw what they wanted to accomplish so you would do this by saying something like just now when you were in that race, you really wanted to win and you tried so hard, you put your best effort forward. 

I know that you didn't win but your effort is something that you should be proud of. So, that's descriptive praise that shows them you saw what they did, you didn't expect them to be perfect, you just acknowledged that they tried really hard, that they put forth some effort going in a good direction, and really that's what we want to duplicate. We don't have to have our child be the best child in the neighborhood or on the planet for some sport or something for our child to have value

After you described what happened that was really good and positive, then the next thing you should do is give a rationale. So, the rationale is the reason why this is a good thing. So, let's say we're using the running race example that we did before where you already described the effort that they put into this race. Well, now you're gonna tell them why putting an effort in that race, even though they didn't win, was such a good thing. So, you might say something such as when you put in your best effort, then you know at the end of the race, whether you've won or you've lost, that you can hold high and feel good because you did your very best. It also shows you that if you want to get even better at this sport, that you probably have to put in a little more work. 

If you put forth your best effort, then you know to really get better, your best has to grow just a little bit more. So, that's a rationale, a reason that might matter to that child who is focusing on winning a race or whatever the situation might be. After you describe what they did that was well, their effort or their achievement and then you give them a rationale for why this was such a good choice to make, there might come a moment where you want to tell them there's some sort of positive consequence that they earned for this good behavior. Now, positive consequences aren't required anytime and they can be very simple. 

A positive consequence might be something like, hey, high 5, you know, or you give them a little squeeze, a little hug, something like that. Just the praise itself is a positive consequence but let's say you decided you want to offer a little treat for the child because you saw that they really tried their best, well then this would be the time to do it. You would say, you know what? Because you did such a great job at putting forth your best effort, I have something special that I want to give you. 

You would give it to them at that time. The next step is to give some sort of positive motivational statement. So, this is where the wow's and a great job and I know you're gonna do even better next time and all those types of statements come in, that's where you can say, wow, you really were amazing or you put in so much hard work or that was really mature. Something like that you might want to add as a motivation statement at the end. 

Often times that motivation statement is gonna be the thing that boosts them forward and that's going to be a part that they carry with them and a little bit of spring in their step. So, we want to praise the effort that they put in even if they didn't get the greatest outcome and we want to praise the achievements that they get when they put forth their best effort. But we don't want to be labeling them all the time. We've got to remember that. And if we describe, give a rationale, explain the positive things they might have earned, and then give them a good positive motivation statement, they are going to be feeling the true power of that praise.

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