“Finished your meal – you’re a champ!”
“Look at that art work – it’s the best I have ever seen!”
“You’re the best swimmer!”
“You used the toilet…..let’s tell daddy what a brilliant girl you are!”
Have you used some of these praises lately? Positive parenting encourages praise, but drenching preschool kids with praise has started to become like a nervous tic for many modern day parents. Is our notion of praise going a bit too far that it feels like water off a duck’s back, lacking real meaning?
Although praise is a great parenting tool to boost your child’s self confidence, but like any other tool, if it is overused, you risk it being ineffective. Researchers have seen that too much praise can actually have the opposite effect on a child – it can be demotivating instead of motivating. If a child is told that everything she does is fabulous, how will she ever know when she actually does something fabulous?
Rather than praising your child at every opportunity, try encouraging her instead. This is a far more powerful esteem-building tool. While praise focuses on the end result of an action, encouragement focuses more on the process of what the child does. When you encourage your child, you actually focus on effort put in, improvement, feedback and positives.
When you focus on encouraging your preschool child, you are not so bothered by the result of her action, but on the fact that effort was put in. You can always praise when the desired result is also achieved.
Encouragement works best when it is consistent. When a parent encourages, he expects the child to succeed. These successes are not expected immediately, and not necessarily with ease either. Parents who encourage are also aware of their child’s capabilities and trust that they will achieve the desired goals.
Here is how you can encourage your child:
Recognize your child’s anxiety and fears and show them empathy and faith. A child may not fulfill a task well the first time around but with empathy and faith, your child will try again and again till he gets there.
2. Focus on Strengths
Parents sometimes, without intending to, resort to fault finding quite easily. Kids who are set in their own personalities may come across as stubborn and rebellious. Look for a positive side to these qualities and focus on them. Rather than criticizing your child, take a step back and see the positive value of these characteristics. If your child is more inclined towards Art than Math, focus on this strength and encourage success there.