What’s one way to encourage good behaviour from children? Arguably one of the fastest ways to do this is to praise good deeds. Children definitely need to be taught the difference between good and not-so-good behaviour at an early age and by recognizing when they do something great is crucial to developing strong moral values.
At the core, we all have a desire to be loved and to feel important. This is especially true when children desire love and attention from their parents. When children are growing up, they are learning about what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t. They want to know that what they are doing is accepted and appreciated by their parents. They are also learning about themselves and how their actions will get them different reactions from the people around them.
This is where you step in. When your toddler does a good deed, recognize it right away and praise their good behaviour. They will begin to understand that their good actions lead to happy reactions from those who love them.
When your toddler does something not-so-good, it is also important to talk about it right away so they understand that what they did was not a good deed.
There are different ways to praise good deeds. One is to acknowledge what they did with words of affirmation. For example, if your child cleans up a messy room without being told first, you can praise them by saying, “How wonderful! Thank you for cleaning up your room and making it tidy again!” If your toddler shares toys with others, you can reinforce this great behaviour by saying, “That is great that you want to share your toys with your friend so they can also have fun playing with it. It is so fantastic that you care about your friends!” Make sure you are specific with your words and acknowledge a good quality about them. This helps them understand what good qualities are rather than a vague, “Good job!”
Another way to show appreciation is to reward good behaviour. A reward could be a treat, a surprise or an extra privilege such as playing with a special toy for a while longer. Just a reminder about rewards and bribes: a bribe is used before the behaviour to get the desired action whereas a reward comes after the good behaviour. Use rewards rather than bribes to achieve this.
Remember that when you praise your child, you are not criticizing them. Giving praise after the good deed is done helps to build their self-confidence and self-esteem. It motivates them to continue the good actions and helps them understand when it is not good behaviour.
Hopefully this article serves as a gentle reminder of how praise can bring about good deeds in children!
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