How To Encourage Kids: Methods That Really Work

Sometimes even very talented children lack one crucial thing to succeed: parents’ support. We all believe in our kids’ potential and powers, but they should know about it! If you still haven’t found what motivates your child to succeed, use these ways to encourage kids in the right manner.

How encouragement works?

The main purpose of encouragement is to boost kid’s self esteem. Remember, this boost should come from within the child’s heart for himself. We don’t have to do it for them. We only need to describe positive personal traits and strong sides which they believe to be genuine and praise themselves for it, based on our description. Thus, a kid develops healthy self-esteem and genuinely feels happy about it, which produces the desired results.

Must read: The Rules of Parent Child Communication (Toddlers & Preschoolers)

So, how to motivate a child who is unmotivated? Daily encouragement is the secret of success. We only need to stimulate children to praise themselves – that’ what differs true support from empty words.

Without further ado, let’s read about the most efficient ways to encourage kids.

How To Encourage Kids Correctly?

1. Do It Right Here, Right Now

Catch him red-handed doing something right, and encourage a child right then and there. Do it immediately and spontaneously. Don’t waste any time. If you miss this opportunity and get late in praising, the effect of praise will be diluted. He’ll think the praise is an after-thought. Your praise will not register in his mind.

2. Praise And Encourage A Child For Efforts, Not Natural Talent

Praise for efforts, not talentThe revolutionary research by psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that praising a natural talent does more harm than good to a child. Instead, praise and encourage a child for his efforts and works. No matter how talented we are, it’s important to be able to develop and do something. Actions are what matters.

3. Be Sincere

Be genuine, sincere and honest. Do not exaggerate. Do not flatter. Flattery is cheap, insincere, selfish and shallow. Your praise shouldn’t be fake or artificial, otherwise it would backfire. It won’t help your child. Very soon he’ll sense your insincerity, and then he’ll suspect each one of your praise for him on any occasion after that. Eventually, you can lose your credibility. Your praise is not genuine if:

  • It is selfish and gives the impression that you are praising to get something done.
  • Creates an undue pressure in child’s mind about maintaining the praised behavior.
  • Tries to cover up child’s weakness.

4. Be Specific And Descriptive

Encourage kids correctly - be specificHow to praise a child with words? Ways to encourage kids with common comments like ‘good boy’, ‘great work done’ etc are not efficient. These are general praises. General praises are vague. Vague praises don’t send a clear message as to what is being praised. Their brain doesn’t take these praises seriously and tends to forget them soon.

Passing general words of encouragement for kids like ‘good’, ‘great’ ‘wonderful’ is easy. Describing is a bit difficult, because you have to actually look deeply in what the child has done and what are the good things to mention. But it is worth the efforts. Description makes praise sincere and genuine.

Always be specific. Take a little pain of observing the child’s work, behavior or performance, and then specify clearly what you see or feel good about it.

For example, if you want to praise his handwriting, don’t just say “beautiful”. Find out and describe which letters has he written very nicely. Tell your kid “we appreciate you for the neatness … the flow of words … the slant of letters …” and find more good things. Once started, you’ll find so many things to approve of!

This way, the child will find exactly what is good about him. He will believe you and tell himself “They appreciate me for the right thing”.

5. Don’t Expect Perfection: Praise Slightest Improvement

If you are satisfied with nothing but perfection, you are bound to face a lot of frustration. Us, grown-ups are not perfect. How can we expect our kids to be? Kids have nothing to do with perfection. Whatever good they may do is bonus for us.

Therefore, don’t expect perfection. Keep your expectation at a reasonable level. Appreciate slightest improvement in child’s behavior. Even in mistakes and accidents, appreciate your child for whatever he could do right.

6. Don’t Relate It To Success

If we praise the child for his success only, we’ll lose so many precious occasions to praise him. Events of success are only a few. Don’t relate your praise to success. Praise and encourage a child for his efforts, irrespective of the results.

Success might come and go. But the experiences earned by the child in the process of putting in efforts are permanent lessons for the child. Keep giving him the gifts of encouragement for his efforts even if he doesn’t succeed.

7. Don’t Compare Kid To Others

Do not compare your kid with other childrenPraise a child for his efforts, not for being better than any other child. Don’t compare him with some other child while praising. Every child his a different mind, experience and background. Every child is unique. Comparison is one of the words and non-productive ways to encourage kids. Praise children to promote their own individuality.

8. Mix Praise And Criticism Cautiously

If you praise your child and then start criticizing him saying how he could have done it better, you are suggesting that he wasn’t good enough. You are mixing praise and criticism. But if it’s done in a wrong way, the child will forget the praise and remember your criticism. Try to minimize critical words.

9. Do It Publicly If Possible

Everybody likes public praise. Therefore, one of the best ways to encourage kids is to tell people about them and their achievements. Let children overhear you say something positive about them.

But don’t publicly praise minor improvement very frequently, because the child wouldn’t like people to know about each of his activity. The child needs his own privacy.

10. Avoid Negative Emotions

Don’t express the praise through any negative emotions like anger, hatred, sarcasm or things like that. The emotions speak louder than words. Even if you are using best chosen positive words but charge them with negative emotions, the words are ignored and emotions get registered in the child’s mind. The praise that looks sarcastic and insulting ceases to be a positive encouragement.

Must read: Keep On and Carry On: How to Stop Snapping at Your Child

11. Soften Your Voice Tone

Your voice tone also reflects emotions. How you speak is much more important than what you speak. A simple word ‘Thanks’ can be spoken most politely as well as in grave anger. In both situations, the same word conveys altogether different messages. Use only positive words of encouragement and speak them with feeling and sincerity.

12. Mind Your Body Language

Mind your body languageRemember! Most of your emotions are reflected through your body language. So mind your body language. Straighten the skin folds on your forehead, relax your facial muscles, eye-brows, and other body muscles. Come close to the child, smile and look into his eyes. Pat on his back or give him a hug, or touch him affectionately. It adds deep emotional touch and great emotional value to your praise.

13. Don’t Repeat Yourself Over And Over Again

Saying one thing once in proper manner sends the message across. If you’ve not said it in a proper manner, it won’t serve the purpose even if you repeat it ten more times. On the contrary, repetition arouses discomfort and suspicion in the child’s heart. Again, try to be specific and find what you really like in kid’s actions/art/studying.

14. Don’t Over-Praise And Over-Encourage A Child

Everything has a limit. You’ll lose the effect of your words by overdoing with praise. If you show over enthusiasm about it, the child feels pressurized. He thinks, “what if I couldn’t do it next time?” Behave reasonably.

Must read: 10 Ways to Spoil Your Child Rotten

And don’t praise any activity which you don’t want him to repeat. For example, if you praise your child’s running speed in a store, you are encouraging him to keep running in every store he visits.

15. Don’t Remind Of The Previous Errors

Never relate the praise to any previous unpleasant event. For example, if you say “I thought you’ll do it as bad as last time but you did better”. This is praise for a recent good performance, but you have finished your praise by relating it to a previous failure. Dragging a previous error will make it a mess. You will lose the focus of improving the behavior and arguments on unnecessary things would start.

The child will come in battle mode and start defending his stand for the previous events. Very soon you will find yourself beating about the bush. Instead, you can say, “you have really worked hard to improve your performance.” These are the true words of encouragement.

16. Don’t Hurry To Finish It

If you are in a hurry to finish praising your children, they will start suspecting you’re not sincere and that you are doing it just for the sake of doing it. They might start ignoring your praise and get alert whenever you praise them further on, even if you are genuine next time. So encourage a child in a subtle way.

Final Words

How to motivate children to study? How to make them become better personalities? The answer is simple: love and support them! Hopefully, you will use these ways to encourage kids on a daily basis to inspire your little ones to move mountains and reach new heights.

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