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Ways to praise – it works!

January 12, 2010

Ignoring bad behaviour and praising good is one of the best tried and tested means of combatting undesirable actions from our children. But do we know how to praise? For some parents this comes easily, for others it takes some practice. When I attended parenting classes and was told to increase the praise for Curly I found it difficult, it didn’t feel like a natural process and I actually felt like I was coming across as patronising. The more I have used praise – the more natural it feels and sounds.

Praise doesn’t have to be just “good girl” or “good boy” though – we’re not talking to dogs afterall!! Below you might find some useful methods to try, give them a go and see which you feel most comfortable with.

Non-Verbal Praise

  • a smile
  • a nod
  • a wink
  • a thumbs up
  • a high/low five
  • a pat on the back
  • a sticker or special badge
  • a prize or reward like getting to choose the next game
  • a star or merit chart
  • getting to pick first, next – this empowers them to give them the opportunity to make a decision for them and others
  • being allowed to operate the controls (e.g. remote) – as above
  • leading a line or bring up the rear – again this makes them feel important and special, gives them confidence
  • being the leaders special assistant for a task – as above
  • being asked to show someone else how to do it – as above
  • starting a talk time activity
  • a certificate – “Cleanest Bedroom”, “Best Helper” – you could draw one, make one on the computer, even download them from the internet
  • being allowed to sit next to/hold the leaders hand for an activity
  • helping with the props at story time

Verbal Praise

  • great stuff
  • thank you for doing that so well
  • you’re a star
  • with people like you around, it makes like so much easier/happier
  • i’m really impressed
  • we all think you’re great at . . . .
  • I had every confidence that you could do it
  • I don’t know if I could have done that – tell me again how you did it
  • you should be so pleased with yourself for doing . . . .
  • I will have to tell your Mum/Dad/teacher/rest of the group just how well you did that
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