“Never delay an expression of appreciation . . . it has a terrible shelf life.”
- Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D
Celebrating what works for your children is another opportunity for empathetic connection.Take time to listen for:
(1) the feelings they are having as a result of their accomplishments, and
(2) the needs they have met by doing what they have done.
You might say, “Wow, you seem really happy and proud of yourself for staying with that puzzle until you figured it out!” An empathic response like this not only serves the connection between you and your child; it also supports your child in building skills to look inside himself for the acknowledgment that he is meeting his needs rather than looking outside himself to others for their evaluation or approval.
Praise the act not the person, praise the action not the reaction. Praise the effort, the time and the labour put into the work and not the action in itself. You may say words like “ I like your choice of colours, the patterns and textures used in this project, it surely will improve your painting skills, keep it up” instead of saying “ wow that’s a beautiful picture, kudos for putting up a good work”. Notice how the first praise gives feedback and motivates the doer to put up his/ her best while the latter declares him/her good without a positive result.
Never delay a praise, a delayed praise is a lost game. Praise your child then and there when you observe a quality to praise and not after two days please. Pat your child on his/her back when they keep their books away, right after that do it, not after dinner. Praising at the right time encourages the child and motivates him/her to work more on improving their skills. Being recognised gives them a sense of accomplishment and fosters in their social and inter personal development. Now if you praise your child after two days for a task done today, you think the child will register this? NO.
Now to the question is how to praise?
- Identify the behaviour you would like to praise, like keeping the cupboard clean or finishing off the homework on time.
- Smile and express excitement when the event happens. Words like wow, ahha , kudos display excitement.
- Go near the child pay him/her on the back or hug gently to acknowledge their behaviour.
- Praise their act and not the child, remember it’s the behaviour that you are praising, tell them about the importance of such a behaviour. Like greeting the caller nicely on the phone improves social and public speaking skills.
- Challenge them that they cannot repeat it the next time. It adds fun to the act and encourages repeated behaviour of your choice. Words like “I bet you cannot do this again” makes sure the child will attempt to do so in the near future.
- Repeat the process 1 to 6 each time when a desired behaviour takes place.
Hope these tips help you praise your child in a desired and constructive fashion which enables them to improvise themselves time and again.
Would you like to add anything to this post ? Do let me know in the comments below.
Happiness and sunshine 🌼