Effective Praise Resources
These resources, some created by Smarter Parenting, and others from other organizations, will help you to practice and implement this skill with your child.
Feel free to rewatch the [SKILL] video as many times as you need to.
Praise and Effective Praise are not the same thing. Most parents give their child general praise but using the the steps of Effective Praise helps children better understand what they are doing well and encourages them to continue that behavior by giving them specific praise. There has been a lot of discussion about praising children and some have discussed the negative effects general praise has on children, however, it should be said that when used correctly, effectively praising your children is a necessary tool for successful parents and children.
Below are three articles from leading authorities on parenting about praise and how praise can be beneficial.
This article is a wonderful outline to help parents understand how effective praise is beneficial for children.
Web MD also supports the idea that praising your children is necessary, but it focuses on being sure that praise is done correctly. This article supports Smarter Parenting’s approach that the quality of how you praise that is more important than the quantity of praise. The Smarter Parenting Effective Praise lesson helps you understand how general praise is very different than Effective Praise.
This article appears initially to refute the effectiveness of praise. It focuses on some of the damaging effects of praising too often and for trivial things which is why it is included in this list. However, it also covers what things make praise effective.
Activities & Games
Using games and activities is a great way to track your progress when learning the skill of Effective Praise. Here are some of our favorite! All labels can be downloaded in the helpful resource section below.
Kitchen Timer Reminder
Set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes. Every time the kitchen timer rings, think about your child’s positive behavior during that 15 minutes and praise them for their appropriate behavior. Repeat.
Materials needed: a timer
Pick one behavior you would like your child to do more often. For example: go to bed on time, do chores without complaining, not talk back, etc. On popsicle sticks (or pieces of paper) write down rewards that would be meaningful to your child. For example: stay up later 10 minutes, have extra computer time, get a hug, etc. Put the rewards in the jar. When you praise your child for their positive behavior, you child gets to pick a reward.
Jar, popsicle sticks. reward jar labels
Every time you praise your child, they get to put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full, the family gets a reward. Possible rewards could include: going out to dinner, getting ice cream, going swimming or to a sporting events, or a family movie or game night.
Jar, fuzzy craft balls, marble jar label
This one gets the whole family involved and encourages your child to use Effective Praise on other members of the family. Anytime a family member uses Effective Praise to praise another family member, they get to put a warm fuzzy in the jar.
Once the jar is full, the entire family gets a reward. Possible rewards could include: going out to dinner, getting ice cream, going swimming or to a sporting events, or a family movie or game night.
Jar, popsicle sticks. warm fuzzy jar labels
This game works especially well on younger children. Determine a behavior you want your child to change. Using the skill of Effective Communication, talk to your child about the new positive behavior you want from them. Each time they do that positive behavior and you praise them for it, they get a bead on their pipe cleaner. When the pipe cleaner is full, your child gets a predetermined reward.
Pipe cleaners or strings, beads
This simple idea helps remind you to praise.
Using a different post-it note color for each family, write down a general praise statement. General praise statements are things like, “wow”, “good job”, way to go, I’m so proud of you. Place these post it notes in visible spots around the house.
Using the general praise statement, you will then add specifics when they do something right. For example, your general praise statement may be “way to go” and it’s placed on the mirror of the bathroom. Then using this reminder you would say, “way to go putting away your toothbrush after you’ve brushed your teeth. When you put it away, I don’t have to interrupt you when you’re playing your game to have you put it away.”
You can also use these praise statements to help your children practice the skill of Effective Praise. When they come across a statement, have them do the same thing in regards to another family member and something positive they see. This helps them learn how to praise by pointing out the positive and coupling that with motivating factors as to why.
Sticky notes (one color per family member), pen or marker
Ready to go further?
Sign up for the Smarter Parenting Club and gain access to additional resources, and most importantly, individualized coaching to assist you with effective communication with your child and much more.