Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tell Your Child How Great They Are

In our day to day lives, with all the stuff that happens and the various activities we must attend to - or just when we are stressed - it’s very easy to forgot to remind your kids just how great they are.

Praising kids can have profound effects on their emotional and psychological development, as well as boosting their confidence and sense of self-worth. Reminding them every now and again just how special they are reinforces the things you like about them, and just as importantly, the behaviours you like them to repeat.

It helps to remind them they are valued and loved. It is extremely easy to feel the whole world is against you and you can’t do anything right, particularly when you hear it all the time. Even if you’re not focussing directly on the negative, not mentioning the positives, can still have a significant effect.

Experts commonly recommend “focussing on the positive” behaviours - finding things to give praise for. This is a great idea, as it has the effect of reinforcing that behaviour. It is particularly important when you are teaching a child certain behavioural patterns such as how to behave in public, using manners or to avoid hitting or hurting others. It is very very easy to take notice of, and react to negative behaviour that impacts on others regardless of whether it is verbal or physical.

Some children behave negatively just for attention – any attention, even being yelled at to some children is better than being ignored. Therefore, noticing and commenting on the more positive behaviour is not only beneficial, it also stops the child having to be so reliant on bad behaviour to seek attention.

Really, though, we all just like being acknowledged and praised for the things we do. It’s also really nice just to hear someone say “you’re great"! Kids are no different.

It is not essential to reward with gifts or treats, nor do you even need to go out of your way to do something special. Reminding your child how great they are also needn’t be an analysis of why, how or what they did. A simple “good job”, “you’re great” or “I love you” as you walk past them can considerably boost a child’s day.

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