Encourage your young child

Five Ways to Encourage Your Young Child

Posted on December 26, 2018 : Posted in Children's Success in Life & School, Education and Development
Encourage your young child

L“Watch this, Mommy!” “Did you see me, Daddy?” Children regularly seek the attention and approval of their parents. In fact, one of the greatest predictors of a child’s success later in life is the engagement and positive feedback of their parents. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to encourage your young child. What words and phrases will really help them believe in themselves and give their best effort? Today we will look at some tips on how to encourage your young child so that it really sticks.

Be Specific

Imagine you are in a performance review at work. Your supervisor has all of your projects from the last six months on her desk, and you’re sitting across from her, waiting nervously for her feedback. After a moment’s pause, she looks up at you and says, “Good job!” You wait for her to say more, but she seems to think the meeting is over. Dissatisfying, right? While you would be glad to know that your work was meeting expectations, you would probably also want to know what you could improve and how exactly your work was good. Your children, though less sophisticated, are the same. When your child shows you a painting they labored over, try to say more than just, “How pretty!” Be specific in your encouragement, saying something like, “You used so many beautiful colors!” or, “Look at all those amazing shapes!” The more specific the praise, the more personal it feels.

Focus on Effort

While it can be tempting to praise what your child accomplishes, focusing just on achievement can keep your child from trying things they may fail. Instead of, “Good job!” try, “Wow, you worked really hard to get up there! Way to go!” Also, make sure you encourage your young child even when he doesn’t accomplish what he set out to do. Saying something like, “That was a really hard climb. I’m impressed with your courage. Every time you do it, you’ll get better.”

Make It About Them

It can be tempting to praise with “I” statements. “I’m so proud of you!” is a common example. Try instead to make your praise about your child. This not only keeps the focus of the praise on them, but it also encourages them to look for affirmation inside of themselves instead of in others. For example, you could say something like, “Wow, you got all the way up there! You should be proud of yourself! That was a hard thing to do!”

Look for Qualities Instead of Abilities

Children who do well academically are often called smart. Handsome, pretty, athletic, and artistic are also often used. But praise that is especially encouraging will focus on qualities rather than abilities. This means that you encourage your young child by noticing important character traits. These could include bravery, kindness, perseverance, integrity, friendliness, compassion, or generosity. While an athletic or academically gifted child may get discouraged when meeting a challenge that their natural talent can’t overcome, a brave and persevering child will see challenges as opportunities. Also, young children may not understand these virtues yet, but when you notice and praise the behaviors that come with them, you help to develop your child’s emotional intelligence.

Don’t Compare

Some parents may try to encourage their children by pointing out other children who are “getting it right.” While others can certainly serve as good examples for your child, be careful about using a comparison to encourage. Often this will have the opposite effect and will make your child feel less than the person you are comparing them too. It is much more desirable to focus on who your child is and how they are growing.

Every parent wants their child to be centered, strong, and kind. One of the best ways to bring about this result is through regular effective encouragement. By following these five suggestions, you will be able to encourage your young child well. Are you looking for childcare in a facility where encouragement is frequent, specific, and meaningful? Consider Legacy Academy Berkeley Lake. Call or visit for more information.