Praise! Any easy way to improve relationships and children’s behaviour!

It will soon be Valentine’s Day, when we will be thinking about showing our love and appreciation to our significant other. How about extending this feel-good factor to our relationship with our children? We know that we don’t stand a chance of improving challenging and difficult behaviour if we don’t have a positive relationship with our children. I’ve previously talked about the magical effect of playing with your child and giving regular one to one attention. This can really help to strengthen your bond. Another really simple way of promoting positive relationships is by praising your child. 

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Nearly everyone enjoys receiving praise, especially from someone who is important to them. However, there are particular ways of making praise really effective. One of the most important things is to make praise specific and descriptive. Saying “Well done!” is great, but saying “Well done for hanging your coat up!” is even more effective. This way, your child really understands the behaviour he or she did that has pleased you. Guess what? They may even repeat this positive behaviour! Whatever we notice about our children, they are likely to repeat. We spend a lot of time correcting our children and noticing behaviour we don’t want to see. Let’s turn the tables and focus on increasing positive habits by rewarding them with specific praise.

It’s important to encourage our children’s efforts when they are trying to do something positive. Praising an attempt at doing something will increase the likelihood that they will persevere with a task or skill. You never know, they might even succeed if they keep on trying! So much is discussed these days about improving children’s flagging self- esteem. Encouraging a child to try is a key way of increasing his or her resilience and their view of themselves as a person who is able to manage tasks with confidence and become increasingly independent. So, why not give it a go? See if you can catch your child “being good”! Whilst you’re at it, don’t forget a bit of self-praise too- it’s a tough job being a parent!