How to Praise Your Child Correctly

Praise when given by a parent reinforces behaviors, strengthens the parent-child bond and boosts self-esteem and helps your child strive to succeed. When a child is used to getting praise for their good behaviors they act with confidence and are more willing to try new things. Therefore, it is advantageous for parents to learn how to praise their children and develop a good habit of doing it often. First, you’ll need to recognize when your child is exhibiting good behavior that deserves your praise. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but I’ve known parents who find it difficult – at least at first. The problem is when your kids are behaving and you are busy, it’s hard to notice. It’s when your kids are acting up that you are forced to pay attention. So, start making it a habit to see what they are doing. Use a timer and set it for 15 minutes. When it goes off, check. You don’t have to let them know. Catch them doing something right, and then tell them about it. Use a positive tone and encouraging words. This is not the time for humor or sarcasm. Saying something like, “Geez, it’s about time you figured that out.” is not praise. It is sarcasm. Try “I am so glad you were able to get that figured out. Good job!”


What Should Parents Praise?

When praising your child, always point out the positive behavior that they did and praise that. Be specific. For instance, maybe your son hit a solid double in his baseball game that brought in a run. Unfortunately, his team still lost the game. So, you will want to praise the fact that he practiced hard and is doing well when he is at bat, really putting forth an effort. But what if his team had won? You still would want to praise his effort at bat. If you just say “Good game.” it is not praising his efforts at all. It simply acknowledges the fact that his team won and you enjoyed watching. When you child tries something new, that is a good time to praise. Whether they succeed or just keep trying, the effort is the positive behavior you want to reinforce. But don’t jump in right away with praising – that may make it sound like you don’t really mean it. Bring it up at a later time, when they can appreciate the praise and think back on their efforts. When your child is talented at something – that’s great! But you should be careful not to praise the talent, but the efforts to use the talent. If you praise the talent itself, your child will not feel the need to get any better or use their talent more.

About Praising Daughters

Our daughters are beautiful in our eyes, always. But daughters need to know that they are appreciated for what they are able to do and for their efforts to achieve as well. Be sure to praise your daughter often for the positive things she does and not just how she looks. It will help her be confident when she is struggling with body image issues.

Empty Praises Have Negative Effects on Children

Parents need to be genuine in their praise. You cannot tell your child that you appreciate when they do something if you don’t. First, they will see right through you. They’ve grown up studying you and they know. Then, they will wonder why you are praising them when they don’t deserve it. And they won’t trust any praise you give them. Or they will get used to the low expectations you are giving them and never strive to do more.

Ways Parents Can Praise Their Children

  • If the whole family has been working hard for a goal and they have achieved it, some family time out together is a great way to praise each person.
  • Write a little note and leave it on their pillow, thanking them for working so hard.
  • Simply saying, “Thanks for starting supper. I really appreciate it.”
  • Tell them how they have made you feel. For instance, “I am so proud of you.”
  • Use non-verbal cues like giving a hug and a kiss.

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