Praising your toddler can help her develop.

How to Congratulate Children

by Sara Mahuron

You are his biggest fan, and by all means, your child knows this well. You can't help but feel excited over every little thing he does. But making the big moments or accomplishments stand out from the regular praise he receives requires some strategy on your part to be effective. Quickly acknowledge a job well done and offer specific praise that recognizes his actions and the outcome.

Choose when to congratulate your child wisely. If you overly praise your child or over-react to mediocrity, your praise loses its potential to boost your child's self-esteem and worth. Keep your praise honest and deserved.

Tell your child exactly what he has done that deserves praise. Let him know what he has achieved. Instead of saying "You were the best kid at daycare today" or another random "good job," try something more specific like, "You did an excellent job sharing toys at daycare today and you made your friends happy."

Ask your child questions about his accomplishment. Your child likely knows he did a good job, even without you telling him so. This will help him identify with his own feeling of accomplishment.

Congratulate your child for his honest attempts, not only successes. This motivates and encourages your child to keep trying even if he isn't yet successful at something. Your child will be more interested in learning and open to try new things.

Show your child how to congratulate others and be a role model by congratulating yourself for a job well done. This will help instill a healthy balance between success and satisfaction so that your child can feel good about his accomplishments even without your praise.

About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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