Words of praise go a long way in developing positive self-esteem in kids. An average 2-year-old hears more than 430 negative statements a day and only about 30 words of encouragement, according to a study at the University of Iowa. So giving kids sincere praise should focus on a child’s efforts and not the outcome of their endeavors.
Praising kids is a vital part of teaching them to try new things and step out of their comfort zones. When praising, focus on their actions rather than their attributes. For instance, “You worked really hard on your homework,” versus “You’re so pretty” or “You’re so smart.” Use praise rather than rewards when encouraging kids to try something new and acknowledge it when you see skills come easy to them. Raising kids with healthy self-esteem and confidence will help them as they enter school, college and beyond.