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To praise or not to praise: How much and how?

To praise or not to praise: How much and how?

Recently, our 6 year old has been excelling at many things. Getting stronger at mixed martial arts, expressing creatively through art, performing self assuredly on stage in a school play, stretching his musical mind with piano and probably most importantly, being socially well adjusted, kind and confident.

"I'm so proud of you, my boy" - I say.

"You should say "Neil, you should be so proud of yourself" comes a sharp answer back... he continues..."I should feel happy and proud of myself, right?" 

"Right!" I nod in agreement.

As I write this, I feel a little awkward - "showing off" about my little boy. I was raised in a culture where praise for oneself was not particularly appreciated. In fact, even today I'm an early beginner in accepting compliments and celebrating achievements. On the other hand, none of can stand gloating self obsessed individuals either, correct?

So how do you get the art of praising kids right? How do you fill them with confidence and nurture internal validation? And be graceful and confident about achievements?

The busybees and experts at indigrowkids dug deeper and here are some of the most helpful excerpts. 

First some hot facts: 

1.When your little ones receive praise for their efforts, they are more likely to persist in challenging activities. But if praise is tied solely to achievement and outcomes, it can create performance anxiety.

2.Excessive praise, especially when it is vague or insincere, can lead to over-dependence on external validation. Your little one may become reliant on praise to motivate themselves.

2.When your little one is rewarded with praise for every action, they may lose their natural curiosity and desire to explore and learn for its own sake.

Second some top tips for praising your child and instilling self confidence:

  1. Specific Praise for Effort

 Instead of saying, "You're so smart," say, "I can see how hard you worked on that. Your effort paid off!"

 "You tried different approaches to solve that puzzle, and you figured it out. Great problem-solving!"

  1. Encourage Persistence and Resilience

  "I admire your persistence in tidying up even when it was taking a little longer than usual."

  "You didn't give up after making a mistake. That's a sign of a resilient learner!"

  1. Promote a Growth Mindset

  "You've shown great improvement in your painting. It proves that with practice, you can get even better!"

   "Making errors is a natural part of learning. Your mistakes today are lessons for tomorrow."

  1. Focus on the Process

Use phrases like "I noticed" or "I observed" to show that you are paying attention to their efforts. "I noticed how you paid close attention to the details in your story. That makes it special."

  1. Use Descriptive Language to highlight specific qualities or behavior. 

 "You were so patient when helping your little brother with his homework."

 Instead of "Good job," say something like, "I appreciate your help with setting the table. You did it carefully and independently."

  1. Encourage Independence

Instead of "I'm proud of you” - You should be proud of yourself for making your bed and getting dressed by yourself this morning."

  1. Be Sincere and Genuine

Authenticity is key to effective praise. Your little one can tell when praise is insincere, so make sure your praise genuinely reflects your observations and feelings.

  1. Celebrate Progress and Improvement

 "I can see you've made significant progress in your reading. Keep up the good work!"

 Third, a few things you can say!

Instead of "Good job" in the air,

Let's be specific and show we care.

Highlight effort, steps, and the try,

When we praise, let's reach for the sky.


"Your patience shines in every task,

You made that bed before I asked!

You worked so hard, I must confess,

Your effort brings your very best."

Enjoy praising and celebrating your little ones! 

This article is the copyright of indigrowkids. At indigrowkids we are empowering kids and their grown ups to celebrate themselves and those around them everyday. Follow @indigrowkids for more play and conversation. And visit us here for more! 

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