Children crave attention from their parents; whether it be good or bad, they want to be noticed. So if you’re not paying attention to all the good things your child is doing, he may start acting out as a way to get you to notice him. If you want the bad behavior to stop, start giving thanks and praise for the good behaviors.
Thank You for Listening
Phrases like: “Thank you for listening,” “That was good direction following,” or “I like when you follow directions,” are great ways to ensure that your children will do what you ask time and time again. Young children are people pleasers. Add this to their need for attention and you have a little person who is a sucker for thanks and praise. Need a little helper around the house? “It makes me so happy when you help me,” “What a good helper,” and “Thank you! You’re a big help,” are great ways to encourage your little one to keep finding ways to help you out.
Also try catching them doing something good when they don’t think you’re watching; if you call them out for something good they have done, they will be surprised and happy. “Bobby, I saw how you shared with your sister! That made her very happy, and I’m proud of you. Good job!” These sweet phrases may seem like overkill to an adult, but to a child they are great for giving positive reinforcement and for boosting self-esteem and confidence.
You can also give thanks and praise to your children before bedtime. Thank them again for helping you, or list all the things they did that day that you liked or appreciated. Nice thoughts and good feelings are a great way to end a day. Plus, reminding them of all the things they did right might help to relieve them of any stress they may have about what went wrong during the day; this, in turn, will make them more calm, peaceful, and ready for sleep. Words are powerful, and what you say will determine how your children think of themselves; so use positive words and phrases to help shape your little ones.
For a more indepth look into how you can incorporate thanks and praise (aka: words of affirmation) into your parenting, please check out our books!