Encouragement and praise

Children need to know that their parents care about them. One of the ways for parents to show this is by giving the child attention, praise and encouragement. Receiving encouragement gives the child a feeling of support and a belief that it can deal with new challenges. Learning new skills through praise and encouragement is a good way to learn. 

Children will often do more of what receives attention from adults. Parents need to direct their attention towards the child’s positive behavior. Praise and encouragement given for positive behavior make the child behave in a positive way. The child’s self-confidence is strengthened, the relationship between parents and children is improved; there will be a friendlier atmosphere in the family and the child will be more receptive to learning and to social contact.

It is never dangerous to give too much praise and encouragement. Praise and encouragement have no negative effects.

Characteristics of effective praise:

1.Praise is precise and specific

“It’s great that you put your shoes on the shelf and hung your coat up” rather than “Good job”

2. Praise is given for new and improved behavior

“It’s great that you managed to leave early enough to get to school on time” rather than “It’s great that you went to school”

3. Praise is clearly positive and not followed by negative comments

“It’s great that you finished your homework before dinner.” rather than: “It’s great that you finished your homework before dinner! Why can’t you do that every day, like your sister?”

4. Praise is short and sincere

“You were very helpful when you cleared the table. Thank you.” rather than: “You’re the best helper in the entire world. This morning you did a great job with collecting the plates, taking them out to the kitchen, putting them in the sink, removing leftovers, and...”

5. Praise is given in a way the child understands

“Thank you for doing what I told you and being quiet while I was talking on the phone.” rather than: “I appreciate your consideration and suitable response to my request of minimal distraction while I was conversing on the phone.”

Children with behavioral problems need extra clear positive feedback. Experience shows that it is not enough to use regular praise and encouragement. Through PMTO you will learn about different incentive systems. These are tailored and will give your child extra motivation to learn the skills he or she needs.


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