What's the Best Way to Praise a Child?


Help your child find ways to feel confident about her own abilities and strengths. When a child doesn’t need to rely on others to notice and praise her abilities or strengths, she develops a strong self-concept that leads to success. Teach your child to focus on comparing her current behavior or performance to her own past performance, with an eye towards steadily improving herself.  This is quite different from bragging, which usually makes a comparison between people, putting someone in the one-up position. 

Few of us want to raise a self-aggrandizing child (from the Free Dictionary Online):

self-ag·gran·dize·ment (sĕlf′ə-grăn′dĭz-mənt) 

n. The act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating one's 

own importance, power, or reputation.

What most of us are aiming for are self-assured, yet humble children.  It's a balance.  When a child has a positive view of herself, she's more likely to be able to see the good in others, as well, and will be better able to notice and respond positively to their accomplishments. A child with a good self-concept can more readily extend praise to others.  They can come from a place of abundance, which is a place we all strive to be.  Everybody is good at something. Help your child see this and recognize it in herself, as well as in others.

Following are some specific ways to praise your child:


Praise positive behavior or accomplishments with specific feedback about what you like about your child’s actions or behavior (“You worked really hard at cleaning your room.  Look how organized it is.  You must be really proud of yourself. You can feel good about your hard work.”). By modeling how to praise and give compliments, you teach your child how to do the same.
  • 1. Compliment your children. What you pay attention to here is what's important.  Avoid focusing on their appearance. Try to focus on traits like, "I'm so impressed with how kind you are," or "Thanks for helping!" Children who are complimented understand how good compliments feel and will begin to compliment others.  As with everything, it's "monkey see, monkey do".  When you do and say positive things (and pay attention to positive things), you make it easier for your kids to do the same.
  • 2. Compliment others in front of your child. Children who are complimented are more apt to compliment other people, but may be unsure of how to do so. Role model this behavior. Show your child how it's done. Be sure to compliment a wide range of different people on a variety of talents, skills and abilities! 
  • 3. Teach compliment giving. Help your kids learn about giving compliments by intentionally teaching them how.  Try our Compliment Games to accomplish this task!
  • Find it all HERE
  • However you teach your child the important social skill of compliment giving, have fun!

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