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How to Give Praise?

By celebrating your child's success, no matter how big or small, is an incredible way to inspire and encourage his or her progress and growth.

Praise can have a powerful effect on your child. When you take the time to acknowledge his or her achievements, you are empowering and motivating your child to find strategies to overcome challenges.

There are two types of praise; effort-based praise and personal praise.

  • Effort-based recognition is more empowering than personal praise as it focuses on what children can control, like how much time they spend on a project or their approach to something.
  • Personal praise highlights children's natural abilities like intelligence or talent for playing the piano.

Here is an example of how they are different. If your child gets a good grade on a Mathematics project, personal praise might be, "Wow, you're incredibly good at Maths!" Effort-based praise, on the other hand, might sound like this: "I'm so impressed at how much time you worked on your Maths project."


Here are ways to give effort-based praise:

1. Be clear. Be descriptive about what you are praising. "You completed your homework faster today — did you have lesser corrections on handwriting?" is more helpful than "You completed your work at a speed of light. Soon, you'll be able to finish within 10 minutes." The former praise removes the pressure to be "the best." And it helps children understand that they are getting better at what they are working on.

2. Focus on progress. It can keep children motivated as they can see their efforts are paying off. For example: "I can tell how much you've been practising the same worksheets. You've completed them with fewer corrections than you had at the first attempt."

3. Talk about how their actions affect other people. For example, you can say, "Thanks for reading to your younger brother while I was doing the dishes. I really appreciated your initiative" This reminds children to retake the same initiative the next time you are busy with house chores. It also shows them that they are a valued member of the family. 

4. Help to express their feelings. Sometimes children need help in identifying their own emotions and owning their accomplishments. If you are praising your child's hard work in Maths, you may consider, "You must feel so proud that all of your hard work and studying made such a big difference."

5. Compared children to themselves, not others. Praise based on outperforming a friend or teammate can make children doubt their abilities. It is important to praise children based on how well they are doing compared to themselves. By saying "I'm so proud of you for learning more advance material than last year" is more