One of the best things parents can do to improve their child’s behavior is to give Effective Praise. Changing behavior through praise is effective and powerful as it promotes a growth mindset for kids.
Adults and kids alike
There is a difference between general praise and the behavior skill of Effective Praise. Effective Praise gives your child a specific reason for their positive behavior AND a motivation why they should repeat the action.
When parents combine specific behavior and motivation, they are helping their child gain confidence in their ability to behave well.
General praise looks like, “Good job.” Or, “I’m so proud of you.” Statements like that don’t tell your child why you’re proud of them or what they did well.
Effective Praise would look like, “Great job for putting your backpack away without asking. When you put your backpack away, you’re able to find it in the morning without looking all over for it, and that allows you to be first to the bus stop and gives you more time to play with your friends.”
Effective Praise allows your child to know exactly what behavior they did well, putting away their backpack, and gives them a reason to continue the behavior, getting to the bus first and playing with their friends. Children are concrete thinkers. Having specifics is extremely helpful for them.
The hardest element of giving Effective Praise is finding a reason that is meaningful to your child to continue the behavior. Children are more likely to repeat the behavior if they understand they will be getting something out of it. Often, we give reasons that are meaningful to us and not meaningful to them.
As you consistently praise your child, you will see improvements.
Effective Praise should be given any time a child is doing something well--whether that is big or small. When children have a lot of behavior issues, it can be challenging to find something to praise. No child is so bad that there isn’t something that can’t be praised. It may be small, but it’s there. It could be something like giving you eye contact, looking up from their phone, or putting their clothes on the chair instead of the floor.
Whatever it is, praise them for it. When you praise for small things, the big things will start improving too.
The power of praise should not be overlooked. On the Smarter Parenting website, you can find the behavior skill of Effective Praise. We challenge you to watch it and then to start using it in your family. Using it will change the whole dynamic of your family.
Changing behavior through praise will be one of the best gifts you give your family.