Next page: In Praise of praise
P: In Praise of praise
The most positive teaching comes from affection and praise for a job well done. By praising, you are reinforcing learning, growth and behaviors that will serve your child as she goes out into the world and interacts with others. Affection is something a child can never have too much of. However, it is possible to overdo praising a child. The trick is to use praise to let your child know that she's done something right or well.
To avoid giving your child gratuitous compliments, follow these guidelines:
• Praise only when the child actually does something good or right. Use words ("Good job!" "Way to go," "Well done"), a cheer ("Yay"), a high five ("Give me five") or actions (a hug, a kiss, a thumbs-up, applause).
• Praise everyday moments and specific actions ("You're doing a good job with that spoon"), not her looks ("You're so cute") or general behavior ("You're so good").
• Catch her in the act ("How polite of you to say 'Excuse me' when you burped," or just as she gives a toy to a friend, "What good sharing").
• Praise with thanks ("Thank you for cleaning up/helping set the table").
• Praise through rewards ("You were such a good cleaner in play group today. Let's stop and feed the ducks on the way home").
• At bedtime, recall something specific about her good behavior during the day ("You were really patient in the shoe store today," or "It was nice that you said 'thank you' to the lady at the bank when she gave you a lollipop").