Give Praise! Good Work!
by Sam Glyn Nava, B.S.Ed, M.S.CCC-SLP, Alphabet Kids Director of Education
All too often the squeaky wheel is the only one that gets the oil.  Frequently, parents are more involved with a child's school work when a negative note from the teacher comes home.  Let your child know that you are noticing his/her hard work by giving them praise at least once a day.  From the smallest task ("What shiny white teeth! You did a great job brushing!"), to more monumental events ("An A on your report card! WOW! Your hard work really paid off!"), children take these moments of praise and remember them, giving them encouragement for the future and a desire to succeed.  Here are six events you may be able to praise your child for a job well done:
Six Tips for Giving Praise
  1. A sport or instrument your child plays - Win or lose, it takes a lot for kids to put themselves out there and take risks, let them know you appreciate their effort.
  2. Completion of a simple task (chores, homework) - If we as adults have a hard time finishing tasks sometimes, imagine what it's like for the kids! Show them it doesn't go unnoticed.
  3. Trying a new food - Some kids love to try new foods whereas others stick to a basic menu. Trying new foods can be daunting for kids - applaud your child for trying a new food; even if they take one bite and don't like it, it's the effort that matters.
  4. Helping a friend or sibling - Everyone needs a helping hand, sharing a crayon or helping to build a block tower is a precursor to life skills that your child will be rewarded for.  Let your child know they've done a good deed by praising them for helping out at peer.
  5. Being polite - When teaching 'please' and 'thank you' we let children know they've done well, but once it is learned we often neglect to praise them for continuing to be polite.  Be polite, and thank your child for using his/her kind words.
  6. Being YOU - Part of what Alphabet Kids strives to teach is that it's great to be just who you are! Once in a while commend your child for just for being who they are. Maybe they jump really high or sit nicely at the table, perhaps they walk well with you in the grocery store - let them know you notice their intricacies by rewarding them with positive words of will go a long way.