How to Give Positive Feedback to Kids: 7 Tips for Parents

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How to Give Positive Feedback to Kids: 7 Tips for Parents | Praise versus feedback. What's the difference? Click to find out! While it is human nature for parents to want to pile on the praise when interacting with their kids, kids need descriptive feedback to help them learn. Does that mean you need to stop praising them altogether. No! The trick is to find ways to provide positive praise and positive feedback to help kids develop a growth mindset. Click for our best tips and techniques!

Behaviours often don’t continue unless they’re reinforced. This is where positive feedback comes in. The purpose of positive feedback is to increase the likelihood that children will engage in appropriate behaviour. It’s one of the most effective ways to reinforce desired behaviour and address behaviour challenges in a gentle, thoughtful way. Positive feedback can also make a huge difference in the relationship with your child, and how they interact socially with friends, family, and classmates. It not only influences how they act as children, but how they grow up into adults. Here are 7 tips on how to give positive feedback to kids.

Praise Versus Feedback: What’s the Difference?

Praise and positive feedback may seem similar on the surface, but they’re not the same. Positive feedback is more than praise, it takes praise a step further. While praise can be spontaneous, positive feedback is intentional. It’s more powerful than praise, but requires more work. Praise is shorter and more vague, for example, “great game!” or “I love how you drew that dog”. Positive feedback is more thoughtful and specific, and is better at supporting development. Praise is recognition for a job well done, while the point of feedback is to encourage similar behaviour in the future.

When you’re a parent, you’re in the position to give feedback, but many mistakenly only offer praise. They provide a stream of compliments to their child, and while that may feel good and boost their ego in the moment, it doesn’t necessarily encourage future actions. Without positive feedback, kids may be left with empty feelings. Think about the difference between “You’re an amazing dancer!” and “I’ve noticed how much you’ve been practicing your ballet dancing, your technique has improved so much, I’m so proud of you!” While the former may give them a burst of temporary satisfaction, the latter gives them encouragement to keep practicing and improving.

How to Give Positive Feedback to Kids

1. Give Feedback Immediately and Often
Positive feedback can be used across a variety of activities to help children learn expectations. It’s important for children to feel loved by their parents and to get a daily dose of warmth and positive feedback. Get used to giving positive feedback immediately and often. For example, when your child helps you set the table, you can say “Great job helping me set the table without even being asked! Thanks for being my helper today.” Getting these reinforcements often will encourage them to continue doing these behaviours.

2. Focus on the Process
Positive feedback should focus on your child’s determination in a certain action or skill. For example “You put so much effort into completing your algebra homework and I can tell you’re improving. I’m proud of how persistent you were!”. This teaches lessons about perseverance and building resistance. It encourages kids to persevere through obstacles, reinforces the importance of hard work, and builds self esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

3. Make Your Feedback Specific
Your feedback is the most constructive when it’s specific. Specific compliments resonate much better than vague ones. For example “I love the way you shared your toys when you were playing with your classmates. Sharing makes for such a good friend”. This will help them understand which behaviours to replicate and what aspects of their work/activities are most impressive. Pinpoint the specific action or skill your child demonstrated, so they can reflect on it and repeat it in the future.

4. Give Them the Confidence to Make Mistakes
Failure shouldn’t be frowned upon. Your child should know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that mistakes are often how we learn. If you ask them a question and they have the wrong answer, don’t make them feel bad or ashamed, don’t make fun of them or mock them. Urge them to keep going with their train of thought, rather than seeing an incorrect answer as a stopping point. This will help your child regard mistakes and criticism as useful information that can help them improve. It will make them more confident in the classroom and in other social situations.

5. Recognize Personal Growth
If you notice your child is making progress, let them know! They’ll feel great knowing that you’re noticing their growth and improvements. Try something like “Your painting skills have gotten so much better. Your paintings are looking so realistic. I can tell you’re more at ease and confident with it.” This will help boost their confidence and urge them to continue improving. It highlights their personal achievements and creates a sense of pride and accomplishment.

6. Encourage Problem Solving
Critical thinking is so important for kids to be able to tackle challenges. Encouraging their problem solving skills boosts their confidence and supports growth. You can say something like “I’m so impressed that you came up with a clever solution when you hit a snag in your geography homework. Keep up the good work!” This type of feedback acknowledges their accomplishment and also supports the development of creative problem solving skills.

7. Focus on Effort Rather Than Talent and Ability
When children are praised for their efforts in mastering a new challenge, even when they don’t get it at first, they tend to eventually perform better and like what they’re learning more. They’re also more likely to learn from their mistakes and constructive criticisms. On the flip side, when children are only praised for their natural talent or ability, they learn to care more about how competent they look to others than about what they’re actually learning. They become defensive about not doing well, and are more afraid to make mistakes.

Positive feedback is so important for kids at every age. Practice implementing positive feedback on a regular basis to encourage your child and help them grow!.

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How to Give Positive Feedback to Kids: 7 Tips for Parents | Praise versus feedback. What's the difference? Click to find out! While it is human nature for parents to want to pile on the praise when interacting with their kids, kids need descriptive feedback to help them learn. Does that mean you need to stop praising them altogether. No! The trick is to find ways to provide positive praise and positive feedback to help kids develop a growth mindset. Click for our best tips and techniques!

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