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How and When to Praise Young Children

by Tania Cowling | June 6th, 2016 | Development, Infants/Toddlers

Toddler-sweeping-or-dustingThere is nothing more fulfilling than a kudo. And this goes for young children, too. If they do something that is worthy of a compliment – please praise them. There is usually something about your child’s behavior that warrants praise. However, you mustn’t praise everything with the same intensity, or your toddler may value none of it, and he could become addicted to praise all the time. Use praise in different ways for various situations.

Toddlers go through stages of life. Some are delightful and some are bratty – it’s a matter of growing up. Guide your little one with some praise for his/her goodness, such as coming when called, or sharing a toy (which is quite tough for a child this age). Now, a tot’s behavior is synonymous for breaking rules, so if your little one has a spell or meltdown, your correction of behavior must be quick, private, without humiliation, and always followed by a kiss. Try to explain the situation with a little reasoning. Hopefully your little munchkin will begin to understand what is right and wrong and see that good behavior receives praise and praise feels good emotionally.

Toddlerhood is also the time to begin politeness training; such as saying “please” and “thank you.” Parents, as good role models, need to get into the habit of saying these words in order to encourage their toddler to repeat and understand them.

How about some simple chores? They are good for toddlers to engage in at home. Clean-up time is one that should begin as a toddler and continue through childhood. And, you will be surprised how many other jobs your little one will want to try. A child-sized broom is fun and teaches children about tidying up the home. A small dust wand is another tool to try. Kudos should be given out after this chore for a job well done (or at least trying) and can be rewarded with a sticker on a chart. My children begged for little jobs to do alongside me. We had a chore and behavior chart on the wall with plenty of “smiley” face stickers or stars to earn and put in place. Children receive an indirect form of praise when their chart fills up with reward stickers.

The bottom line to giving praise to toddlers is not only telling her how special she is but make sure you take the time to listen closely to what your child has to say. Self-confidence grows as children feel that the people they really care about are interested in their ideas, concerns, questions, and feelings. Toddlers may conduct “little” talk, but their conversations are so important to them. Seize the moment to ensure positive experiences in your toddler’s world.

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