Parenting is not easy! It is more like a roller coaster ride where you cannot always see the track or the drops ahead. For your baby or toddler, learning and exploring this new world can seem just as overwhelming. Bottom line, we all need encouragement on our journey. Praise and encouragement are important for your child’s development. Praise raises self-esteem, supports positive interactions, reinforces appropriate behaviors, and just makes kids feel warm and fuzzy inside. However, an important consideration is how and why you are praising your child.
Are you using praise effectively?
Be specific- It is easy to fall back on the old, faithful “Good Job.” The more specific you are about what you are praising, the more meaningful it will be for your child. For example, “You are doing a great job picking up your toys” or “I am proud of you for going potty”.
Praise for achievement and effort- Sometimes, your child will meet a milestone or complete a task. At other times, your child may need a little extra praise while he is working towards a new task. Make sure to include both types of praise. Remember, to be specific about why he is getting the praise.
Be honest- Make sure your praise is honest. Praise should be genuine because children have a way of figuring out when it is not. Make sure your non-verbal cues are consistent with what you are saying.
Quality over quantity-You do not have to praise your child all day, every day. Too much praise can be as challenging as too little. Parents should find a balance that works for their family. Generally, if you see your child putting in extra effort, provide praise. If she is doing something that is a typical, mastered part of her daily routine, praise may not be necessary.
Remember to consider what works best for you and your child! No one type of praise will be a good fit for every family. Your praise and encouragement style should fit your needs and comfort level! If you have concerns or questions about your child’s development, we can help! Remember, Babies Can’t Wait! Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB: http://www.racsb.state.va.us/