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. 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 behaviours 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 behaviour that we wish to see in our children.
We say that praise is a short-term tool because we will praise a behaviour till that behaviour becomes natural to our children. You stop praising behaviour 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 behaviour 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 behaviour.
4. Praise Small Increments In Behaviour
Don’t wait for the behaviour to change completely when you start to praise your child. Instead, notice small improvements in the behaviour and then start to praise the small improvements. For instance, you want your child to colour 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 colouring and mention that to your child. You could say something like “Wow! I love how you are getting better at colouring 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 colours”, “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 behaviour. This is going to send out the wrong message to them and they are not going to try and show any improvement.
I have shared the important components of praise with you. It is so important that we praise our little ones, but it is more important that we do it right because praise can have a huge effect on their overall personality and mindset.
Let’s commit to praise our children and also let’s commit to praise correctly every time we praise them.
Writer: Riddhi Deorah
(Born and brought up in Kolkata, the author owns a flagship designer fashion store by the name of Riddhi & Revika. She has also been writing and sharing content on parenting since 2017)