Encouragement: The Prime Motivator

Encouragement and Praise

  1. When we praise, we send a restricting message (“You’re only worthwhile when you do things well”)
  2. But when we encourage, we respond to a wider range of behavior, effort, and improvement.
  3. Some children interpret praise as “To be worthwhile, I must do what you want.”
  4. When we encourage, we lead children to take responsibility for their own feelings of  worth.
  5. Praise is limiting because it focuses on the extrinsic.
  6. Encouragement promotes self-motivation, personal achievement, and independent action

Accept your Children as They Are

  1. Accept them as they are
  2. Appreciate their differences
  3. Focus on the present and the future (forget past performance from this day forward)
  4. Show acceptance with: a smile, a touch, an accepting silence, positive phrases
  5. When you accept, don’t qualify
  6. Make encouraging statement then stop (Don’t say “See what happens when you try,” or “It’s about time.”)
  7. Any added word should back up your encouraging statement by pointing to something specific.
  8. Acceptance has no strings attached

Accentuate the Positive

  1. Marking only mistakes deprives children of hope.
  2. Begin to eliminate the negatives from your vocabulary, your actions, and your attitude: Students pick up on nonverbal signs also

Respect Yourself and Your Children

  1. Help children risk mistakes and accept imperfections: If you make a mistake, admit it; If you don’t know the answer, say so
  2. Be as consistent as you can: Don’t let bad moods or ill health change your behavior.  If they do sometimes, then apologize

Help Children Evaluate Themselves: Reduce Competition

  1. Competition can be the most discouraging thing a student faces
  2. Pitting children against each other makes winning more important than learning

Involve Children in Helping Each Other

  1. Help children develop feelings of worth and belonging by emphasizing cooperation
  2. Encourage them to help each other
  3. Children can benefit from strengths that their peers are willing to share
  4. Have children list what they do well and what they need to improve on
  5. Pair strengths and weaknesses to tutoring

What do you do to encourage your children?

Angela DiCicco

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