|She loves me, she loves me not, I LOVE ME.|
Praise must be thoughtful. Offering our children non-specific praise is a disservice.When you praise your child it is important to be specific. Tell them exactly the trait or behaviour or skill that you have recognized as improving or newly learned. Saying things like "you're great!" without a specific reason or example doesn't give the child anything to build on.
Say things like:
- Your printing is really getting neater, it's starting to look like a grownup's!
- You were a good friend today, helping _____ put away toys before we left.
- You were super-fast doing your journalling today, and it's well done. You must have really been concentrating.
Model self-praise.Routinely, I can be heard saying things like this:
- I worked really hard today and got the whole _____ done.
- I'm really pleased with myself, I finished this faster than I had planned to.
- I feel good about ____. I didn't want to do it, but now that it's done, I'm happy.
- I was a good friend today, listening to/helping/supporting ______.
- I am proud of my kids, I'm a good Mom.
Also, I ask them leading questions so they can express positive assessments of their own actions.
- How did you feel when you landed that back flip at gymnastics today?
- What did you think when you finished your math so quickly?
- How do you feel now that your room is clean?
- What did you think of that interaction with your friend, when they were sad about their dog dying?
Being the Mom of boys, I think it's important to model talking about feelings and give them words to explain theirs. Girls, for the most part, seem to have no problem with this! But, some might also need a little modeling and coaxing in this regard!