You’ve probably said “good job!” 1000s of times. I know I have. But there are better ways to offer acknowledgment and authentic support to your children.
Narrate what you see
When you make short objective statements like, “You painted a picture of a house,” or “You picked up the red block,” you are acknowledging your child’s accomplishments without judgement. Narration without judgment allows children to judge the merits of their efforts themselves.
Connect the effort with a desired character trait
If your child consuls a hurt friend say, “You gave Sarah a hug because she was sad. That’s being a kind friend.” When your child says “excuse me,” “please” and “thank you” say, “You are being respectful and polite.” Connecting the effort builds self-efficacy, increases vocabulary and helps children internalize their behaviors.
Emphasize the impact on others
When your child finally pickups the legos that have ripped apart your feet say, “You picked up the Legos. You made it safe for me to walk. I’m so happy!” When your child shares say, “You shared the red fire truck with Michael. That made him feel so good.” Emphasizing the impact on others teaches your child to intentionally make things happen through their actions.
Ask open-ended questions
“How did it make you feel to get that sticker from your teacher?” “How did you make that, draw that, paint that…?” Asking open-ended questions stimulates more language use, affirms children’s ideas, and encourages creative thinking.
Just let your child learn, play and have fun. We don’t have to comment on everything. 🙂