If you want your child to believe they can do anything, tell them they can. If you want your child to believe they are enough, tell them why they are. If you want your child to have the self-confidence to soar, authentically affirm they daily.
Your words one day become your child's inner voice, so choose ones that build their spirit. The more intentional you are about the words you speak, the more confident your child feels. Your words are the fuel your child needs to fly.
Here are some do's and a don't for ensuring that your words are not only heard but felt and absorbed:
1. Be authentic
A child doesn't just need to hear that you think they are incredible, they need to feel that you truly believe so. This means not paying a compliment just because it sounds nice but because it rings true to your heart. When you speak words from your own heart and they touch the heart of your child, you deepen your connection to them while building their self-esteem.
2. Be Specific
Specific praise is much more effective than generic praise. When your words are descriptive, your child knows exactly what you are praising them for. This helps them to gain strength in the area that you are commenting on.
3. Praise the Process
Praising the process is even more critical than praising the results. It's important to acknowledge when a child is learning something new, working hard on something or is facing a challenge. These are golden opportunities to share how creative you find them to be, how resourceful, how talented, how innovative, etc. When a child feels confident throughout the process, they are more apt to do their very best. And, even if they don't succeed, they still feel satisfied with what they accomplished.
Remind your child of the process when they don't succeed at something. Children need to know how to fail at something without losing confidence in their abilities. When we teach a child that a failure is actually a lesson, we can give them the confidence to continue believing in themselves. Rather than having an inner voice that speaks harshly to them, theirs will be one that speaks of love.
4. Use Body Language
Words aren't always necessary to praise your child. A warm hug, encouraging wink, excited thumbs up, joyous smile, motivating high five, or your special handshake are all ways to get the message of praise across without having to say a word. Sometimes it's what we don't say that is exactly what a child needs to hear.
Now that we have the do's covered, here's the don't :
5. Don't Overdo Praise
Just like with anything else in life, there must be a healthy balance. Overdoing praise will make it lose some of its value. When a child hears the same thing over and over, the words become more hollow. On the flip side, overdoing praise can also lead to a child feeling they need to earn approval from others, rather than from within. Be conscious about what you are praising for and make sure it counts.
Check out our children's affirmation cards. They are fun, easy to use and most importantly- effective. This deck of cards is a great tool to help get you started on your journey of praising with purpose.
Click the image below to check out our children's affirmation cards, which are an incredibly effective way to build self-esteem. The powerful affirmations include rhyming statements, which help your child to not only memorize them but deeply believe them. Here's to more self-love for kids!