Encouraging kids whenever they do something nice or achieve something is an essential part of childhood. However, coming up with different ways to encourage kids with words is quite challenging. This will ultimately have a significant positive impact on their lives. It is important to be careful and attentive with words when you are dealing with your kids.
Parents and teachers usually adopt different ways to encourage kids with words. Positive reinforcement can greatly condition a child to deal with future challenges. This can be done with consistent positive affirmations and appreciation. Whether it’s in the case of academic performance or achievements in other fields, some of the common encouraging words that are used are “good job”, “well done” or “you’re amazing”.
However, it is important to note that using encouraging words doesn’t always motivate kids. As a matter of fact, it can be counterproductive. The effectiveness of using positive words depends on the way it is used.
There are usually three benefits of using the right words of encouragement. They include:
- Using encouraging words can improve a child’s self-esteem. A 1990 study reported that using positive words for kids with low esteem can be extremely beneficial for the child’s emotional and mental development.
- Positive encouragement can increase a child’s intrinsic motivation. Using intrinsic motivation in academics can influence a child’s desire to learn.
7 Positive Ways To Encourage Kids Using Words
1. Praise Sincerely and Spontaneously
Parents often praise their children to boost their confidence even if they haven’t achieved anything noteworthy. They also encourage them to be good. It is important to understand that if encouraging words are not perceived as sincere and honest, they won’t feel as encouraged as they should be. Insincere praises are ineffective and can negatively impact the emotional health of the child.
Insincere encouragement can result in the child thinking that the praise is inconsistent with their behavior. For instance, when the parent praises even though the child didn’t perform well, the child thinks “that’s not true. I didn’t perform at all”. This can lead to self-criticism and make them self-destructive.
Overly general encouragement may also be perceived as insincere since any general praise is more likely to be inconsistent with the existing facts. For instance, if you are praising your child for doing well in school even if they haven’t, they may think to themselves “I’m not an angel. I am not doing so well in school”. Hence spontaneous praising can go a long way in encouraging their good gestures and behaviors. Using praise to manipulate their behavior is also perceived to be insincere.
2. Don’t Use Conditional and Controlling praise
Controlling praises are used with the intention of controlling or manipulating. It is a technique that is used to affirm a child’s progress, improvement, and task. For instance, telling your child a statement such as “good! But I think you can do better” is usually intended to motivate the child to try harder next time.
In the case of using encouragement as a controlling tool, children can receive the proper approval and positive evaluation that helps to develop self-worth. Conditional encouragements develop contingent self-worth in kids. Self-worth is an aspect that kids tend to develop even when they are as young as two years.
These kids grow up to believe that their self-worth is directly linked to validation and approval. Hence their goals are mostly validation-oriented. Some parents believe that this may be right and this is the method to adopt. It is also worth mentioning that this child may even avoid activities that may cause negative judgment.