Words of wonder: how to praise your child in a positive way

Words of wonder: how to praise your child in a positive way

While it sounds like praise and positive praise are the same, their goals differ. Here's what you need to know about praising your child in a way that lasts.

What is positive praise, and how does it work?

Positive praise is when you express positive feedback to your child for a specific action or behaviour. It is a form of positive reinforcement to encourage and motivate children to continue engaging in desirable behaviours.


Praise focuses more on something already done, i.e. "Well done for passing your maths test". Positive praise focuses on the future, "Great job. You worked really hard, and it's paid off! Keep up the good work!." 


Parenting expert Anita Cleare, the author of The Work/Parent Switch and founder of The Positive Parenting Project, agrees, "Praise helps build children's self-esteem when it is specific and believable and when it helps children interpret their failures positively. The focus with your praise needs to be on real achievements and effort, so model a positive growth mindset interpretation of experiences.


However, bear in mind that constant overblown praise will have the opposite effect. The kind of praise where you tell a child they are fantastic and brilliant all the time can destroy trust, with children thinking, "I don't believe your opinion of me. It isn't based on reality.”


Overblown praise can also undermine a child's self-esteem and inhibit learning. It leads a child to conclude that they have to be perfect and do things brilliantly to be approved of. It's why the aim of praise needs to be to make a child feel proud of their success and efforts for something they have actually done."


The benefits of praise

  • It leads to better self-esteem. Studies show that positive praise helps children feel good about themselves and their abilities, which can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

  • It builds positive relationships. Praising children can strengthen the relationship between the adult and child, creating a positive and supportive environment.

  • It fosters a growth mindset. Studies also show praise can encourage children to see challenges as opportunities for growth and development rather than as failures.

  • It encourages intrinsic motivation. Positive feedback helps children feel good about their efforts and accomplishments, which can encourage them to continue to pursue their interests and passions.

  • It reinforces positive values. Praising children for exhibiting positive values such as kindness, empathy, and generosity can underpin these values and encourage children to keep exhibiting them in the future.

Tips for making the most of positive praise

  1. Be specific. When giving positive praise, be clear about what your child did well. Doing this helps them understand precisely what they did right and encourages them to continue that behaviour in the future.

  2. Be timely. Give positive praise as soon as possible after your child has shown the desirable behaviour. This helps reinforce the behaviour and makes the recognition more meaningful.

  3. Be sincere. Make sure your praise is genuine and honest. It breaks trust if you tell your child they were fantastic when they know they weren't.

  4. Focus on effort with your praise. This helps reinforce the value of hard work and perseverance.

  5. Be consistent with your positive praise. Make sure you use this technique regularly to keep your child motivated. 

  6. Use praise to set goals. Doing this gives your child something to strive towards. For example, if your child passes a maths test, say, "Well done. You've worked so hard. Keep up the good work."

  7. Encourage self-reflection: Encourage your child to see and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments rather than just relying on external praise from you and teachers.

  8. Encourage further growth: Use positive praise to encourage your child to continue to grow and develop their behaviours, skills and abilities. 

How GoHenry can help with positive praise

Using GoHenry can help with positive praise in several ways. Firstly, the app allows you to set up paid tasks and chores that your child can do daily or weekly. For example, if you want to encourage your child to go to bed on time, do their homework or tidy their room, you can set up a task on the app that can be ticked off and rewarded. Secondly, Giftlinks enable you or relatives to send money straight to your child's GoHenry prepaid kids debit card. It's perfect for helping your child celebrate a personal win and a great way to boost your child's pocket money for a well-done job.





Related articles:

How to manage your kids screen time

Goal setting for teens

Goal setting steps for kids

Reward system for kids

Needs vs wants

What age should a child have a phone?

Written by Anita Naik Published Mar 17, 2023 ● 3 min read