There are many times throughout the day when I tell my kids what to do. “Get dressed. Brush your teeth. Put your shoes on.” And while it’s important for kids to follow directions, I also try to find many moments throughout the day to compliment my kids.
Compliments are easy ways to boost confidence, teach kindness, and connect with your children.
How to Compliment Your Kids
Be specific. Instead of “good job” I try to compliment specific actions. For example, “I love how you shared your toys. That was so kind.” “Good job going down the slide. You are so brave.” They know exactly what they are being complimented for, and what they hear is “you are kind” and “you are brave.”
Compliment even the smallest moments. “Wow you did a great job counting the blocks!” “You are so good at using your spoon!”
Compliment more than you correct. While I help, correct, or redirect sometimes, I try to have more positive interactions than negative. Kids are more responsive to criticism or direction when they build strong, positive relationships with parents or caregivers. And helping them work through hard moments is the perfect time to compliment them. “That was so hard, but you didn’t give up!”
Even in the tough moments, you can still find ways to compliment. During meltdowns, I might say, “I’m proud of you for telling me what is upsetting you.” After meltdowns, I will often say, “I’m proud of you for calming down,” or “I am so proud of how you handled that.”
Focus on compliments outside of appearance. Not that you can’t tell them how adorable they are, but there is so much more value to a child than being cute or pretty. Instead, try “You are ______ (brave, kind, strong, courageous, smart).”
I love seeing a child’s eyes light up when being complimented. And there is nothing better than hearing them speak positively about themselves after hearing it from you. I don’t know about you, but I want my children to know and believe they are brave, strong, and kind.