4 more clever tricks to try

Is ‘well done’ a stock phrase in your house? Per­haps an­other tool might work bet­ter than praise…

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Cool Compliments -

1 Ac­knowl­edge his feelings

Some­times he won’t be happy with what he’s do­ing. And if his pic­ture of a bi­cy­cle doesn’t look like a bi­cy­cle, our im­pulse is to of­fer en­cour­ag­ing words: ‘No, it’s re­ally good. It does look like a bi­cy­cle’. But it’s more help­ful to say, ‘You’re not happy with the way that bi­cy­cle came out, are you?’. Your child might re­spond with re­newed ef­forts to draw a bike. Or he may de­cide to draw a ball in­stead. Ei­ther way, your emo­tional sup­port helped him through his mo­ment of frus­tra­tion.

2 Give him a pos­i­tive role

It’s tempt­ing if you’ve got more than one child to boost the ego of the big boy at the ex­pense of the baby: ‘You got your shoes on by your­self. Your baby brother can’t do that.’ But re­sist prais­ing by com­par­i­son. You don’t want your older child to feel threat­ened by the ac­com­plish­ments of his rapidly grow­ing sib­ling. In­stead say, ‘You got your shoes on by your­self. I know who’ll be teach­ing the baby to tie his shoes when he gets older.’ Now he sees him­self as a teacher of his brother, rather than a ri­val.

3 Start a con­ver­sa­tion

Rather than say­ing, ‘Well done!’, say, ‘Oh, look at what you made! Tell me about it. This makes me think of outer space – what does it make you think about?’.

4 Give him a new pic­ture of him­self

It’s in­stinc­tive to of­fer praise when a child com­pares him­self to his peers and finds him­self lack­ing. If he can’t clam­ber up the frame ev­ery­one else is climb­ing, you might say, ‘Don’t worry, you’re re­ally good at climb­ing’. In­stead, give him a pic­ture of him­self that in­spires him to strive, by telling him a story about him­self: ‘I’m sure if you want to climb up there you will do it. I re­mem­ber when you were too young to crawl. But you wanted to get to the dog’s bowl and you kept try­ing and try­ing. I had to go to the bath­room and I thought it would be OK to leave you for just a minute. But when I got back, there you were, munch­ing on Rover’s dog bis­cuits!’.

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