In Gary Chapman’s book, 5 Love Languages for Children, he titles one of the languages- Affirmation. In my post on 7 Ways to Praise Your Husband for 7 Days, I mention how all of us as humans long for praise. Kind words can go a long ways in healing a wounded heart and positive words can strengthen a strong heart.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
With my own children, I know that when I heard it said that they should be praised 10 times as much as they are corrected, I felt convicted. (I think the Duggar family also says this.) How can I do that? While I haven’t mastered this technique by any means (just ask the kids), I truly want to praise them more than I correct them. So now I have an acrostic to help me remember: 7 Ways to Praise Your Children for 7 Days-
Day 1: I – Involve your children in positive conversation. Avoid using negative words, like no, not, don’t, etc. Simply changing a firm “no” to “I’m sorry, but now is not a good time. We can do it ___________.” Be sure that the language you use is uplifting and creates a pleasant environment.
Day 2: N – Notice what makes your child smile. When you see that positive outward response to your words of praise, then take particular note of the time, the words you used, and as many of the circumstances surrounding the event as you can remember. And be sure to use them again. Repetition reinforces positive outcomes.
Day 3: S – Salute your child’s achievements. When Susie brings home a great report card and you know she worked hard for that “B”, then take the moment to say how proud you are of her hard work! Celebrate milestones- they pass quickly!
Day 4: P -Praise the efforts. If I expect my children to do a chore perfectly the first time, I’m going to be disappointed. An 8 year old is learning how to wipe down the bathroom sink and mirror. A half a smudge of toothpaste glossed over isn’t going to kill anyone. I can praise for obedience in performing the action to the best of his/her ability. (I wish all of you reading this could take a mini Let.It.Go lesson from my friend, Karen Ehman. Highly recommend the study!)
Day 5: I – Initiate genuine words. Praising your child for something about which you are not earnest will set the wrong pattern. Be sure the words you choose to use come from a genuine heart- kids can read pretense like no one.
Day 6: R – Reinforce positive behavior with rewards. I don’t mean bribe them in the heat of the moment. Set rules that give opportunity for success; success then has its rewards.
Day 7: E- Encourage your child with smiles, hugs and laughter. When there are no words, either because you’re too tired to think of any, or the situation makes you feel like crying for whatever reason, the simple choice to smile and hug your child in the moment can make all the difference in the world.
I would love to hear the techniques you have on praising your children! Would you leave a comment below?
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