Praise is a wonderful way to pump up our children however, encouraging over direct praise helps your child to become independent and overcome challenges. Ultimately it is more effective for a child’s self-esteem and helps motivate kids to want to learn, grow and reach their goals vs. expecting someone to always fix or help them with their problem.
There are many ways you can encourage your child and have them take accountability for their actions at the same time.
One example is encouraging them to get ready for school themselves (in an age-appropriate way.) You can lay out 2 sets of clothes that are you-approved and they can pick out which one they would like to wear. Yes, it may be backwards, or it may be mixed matched between the two outfits, but they will be so proud of their decision. (Psst this also teaches confidence in their own decision-making!) This takes out the argument of “I don’t want to wear that” since they are the decision makers in what they would like to wear to school. In theory, this could make your morning routine easier!
Mealtime is also a great way to encourage your child to try new things and help with the daily running of the house. Eating the same thing as your child can also help them try new things.
Some phrases to use during mealtime are:
“Do you know how it tastes?” “Can you tell me if you like it?”
“We can do it together, what would you like to try first?” (You do a countdown and taste it together.) Ask them if they like it or if they don’t but also let them explain why they do or don’t.
Also give them praise for trying something they didn’t want to try!
Children ultimately love to do a lot on their own and encouragement helps their overall development. Encouraging phrases become something they look forward to even if they say that they can’t do it. It’s okay to let them problem solve because once they do it on their own it will be a victory moment for them! When the “I can’t” phrases come up, be sure to respond with “You can!” or “I believe you can do it!” or “ You are very capable!” When they finally do it remind and say “Hey you said you couldn’t do it and I see that you did it all by yourself! Nice work keep trying and never give up!”
Encouragement is great motivation at home, school, and life tool for young children.
Resident Kids Coach
Lead Preschool Teacher