Kids are pretty cute and it’s hard not to let them know it.
In fact, using compliments to build up their self esteem is crucial to helping them develop their self worth. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling them how cute they are. But, if that’s ALL we focus on, it can backfire on us and make them focus too much on their appearance, something they don’t always have control over. This especially comes into play during those oh-so-awkward teen years.
We want our children to know that WHO they are matters, not just what they look like. Complimenting your child on something other than their appearance not only helps build their self esteem in a healthier way, it will also reinforce those positive behaviors you want to see in your child.
The best compliments you can give your child are about a specific process or the effort they exert on something, IE things your child can control.
The non-appearance related compliments you can give your child are endless but we’ve provided some suggestions below, just to give you some ideas.
A couple hints to make this a successful strategy:
1) Be specific as you can.
2) Compliment them as soon as you can after you see the behavior.
You are so funny. I love how you always make your dad and me laugh.
It was so nice of you to share your toys with XYZ. You are a really good friend.
You are such a good big brother/sister. Thank you for helping them with XYZ this morning.
That math project was tough. I'm so proud of how hard you worked on it.
You are becoming such a big boy/girl. You got dressed all by yourself this morning!
It was so nice of you to check on XYZ when they were crying. You are so kind and loving.
Thank you so much for helping empty the dishwasher. You are such a great helper around the house.
Life is busy and it's easy to get caught up in the day to day survival of just getting through the day. It’s important that we take the time to encourage our children and remind them of our love and appreciation for who they are.