While parents want to acknowledge every positive action that their child does, this can sometimes get exhausting. This often results in a generic “good job!” While saying “good job” once in a while is okay, it is definitely not a phrase that should be uttered with regularity. First, children are often unsure of what action warranted the good job. Secondly, children may become discouraged or feel badly when an action doesn’t always result in a “good job.” The following is a list of alternatives to say in response to an action that deserves recognition.
Five Alternatives for Good Job:
- Acknowledge What You Saw: “You put your shirt on all by yourself!” “You cleaned up all of your toys!” Statements like these allow a child to feel independent and take pride in what she has done. This can also be used during social interactions. For instance, if your child shared his/her toy with another child you can say, “Samantha looks so happy since you let her play with your doll.” This allows your child to understand that her actions can also affect the mood of other people.
- Ask Questions: A great way to get a child to feel empowered about something is to start a dialogue about it. Instead of complimenting a picture your child just painted, ask them about it. You can say things such as, “what was the hardest part to paint?” Or you can ask them to describe the picture to you, as little artists love to explain their masterpieces!
- Recognize the details: If a child spent a long time working on an art project, let her know that you noticed. “Wow Johnny, you really worked hard on that drawing!” Or if your child used a lot of color or shapes you can say, “Look at all of the different shapes you used!” and “Look at all of those colors; you must have mixed red and blue to get that purple!”
- Nonverbal feedback: Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. Instead, give your child a smile when she is working hard on a project or on her homework. Even a pat on the back or a high five will give your child a positive boost and allows her to feel proud.
- Say Thank You: If your child helps clean up her toys or helps another child with a task, acknowledge this. “Timmy, thank you for helping me clean up the art supplies.” Or “Thank you for helping Sam zip up his jacket.” Simply recognizing a child’s actions will make them more likely to exhibit similar actions in the future.
Click here to read more about how to praise your child the right way.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!