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Praise your Toddler

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 11-01-2007

Shaping a child’s behavior is a challenging area where parents inevitably make mistakes. By our very nature, many dads prefer to approach this delicate task armed to the teeth with warnings limitations and the promise of repercussions. However, education professionals now believe that enforcing discipline in a positive manner will go a long way toward the balanced development of your child.

Praise is a contentious value of our times. Some are sure that children will be spoiled by praise. However, as a parent, you will be surprised by the flowering of peace and good manners in your home if you practice praise rather protest.

The following suggestions are likely to help you positively discipline your toddler and achieve the best practical results:

  • Praise your toddlers constructively: Children are always trying to win attention and encouragement from their forbears. And they deserve both. But it is important that your responses as a parent point to the specific event for which the child is being praised. For example, when your children start eating with a spoon or learn to go potty on their own, they should be praised for doing so. “”What a big girl you are. Eating on your own!” This is exactly how a developmental advance registers at the level of a child’s personality.

  • Be Authentic: Too often there is a mechanical tone that slips into a parent’s daily vocabulary when dealing with their children. There must be a genuine and enthused feel that should be felt generously through every communication, especially praise.

  • Avoid criticisms: Parents should avoid the temptation of readily criticizing their children as they are likely to undermine their children’s confidence. Often, parents shame their children, contradict their praises and end up confusing the child. Example: “That’s a good boy, but no more mischief please.”

  • Remember that kids (at least all the ones we know) are not intrinsically evil. They are learning from your cues and signals. And, at the early ages, they don’t understand scoldings and can become frightened instead by your behavior. With small children, always try to imagine their perspective, from two feet off the ground, unable to guage time, and without a clearly developed sense of right and wrong, that they can only learn from you. Sometimes, it’s just best to repeat to yourself, “He’s only a little kid…”
Here are a few quick ways by which you can clearly communicate praise to your toddlers:

  • Looking into their eyes and smiling

  • Gently touching them

  • Applauding them enthusiastically

  • Kissing and hugging them

  • Giving them a ‘Thumb’s Up’