As parents and caregivers, we all want to support our children’s growth and well-being. However, it can be challenging to know the best way to do this. One simple yet effective approach is to praise children’s effort and progress instead of just their abilities or outcomes. In this article, we will explore the benefits of praising effort and progress and provide practical tips for how to implement this approach with school-age children.
Why Praising Effort and Progress Matters
The Growth Mindset
Research has shown that praising effort and progress can help children develop a growth mindset. This means that they understand that their abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. By contrast, praising abilities or outcomes can reinforce a fixed mindset, where children believe that their abilities are predetermined and cannot be changed. This can lead to a fear of failure, a reluctance to take risks, and a lack of motivation to learn and grow.
Self-Esteem and Resilience
Praising effort and progress can also boost children’s self-esteem and resilience. When children receive praise for their hard work and progress, they feel acknowledged and valued for their efforts. This can help them develop a sense of self-worth that is not solely tied to their abilities or outcomes. Additionally, when children face challenges or setbacks, they are more likely to persevere and bounce back if they have a growth mindset and a strong sense of self-esteem.
Motivation and Engagement
Finally, praising effort and progress can increase children’s motivation and engagement. When children feel that their hard work is recognized and valued, they are more likely to feel motivated to continue learning and growing. Additionally, when children are praised for their progress, they are more likely to feel engaged in the learning process and take ownership of their own learning.
Tips for Praising Effort and Progress
When praising children’s effort and progress, it is important to be specific. Instead of simply saying, “Good job,” try to be more specific and descriptive. For example, you might say, “I noticed how hard you worked on that project. You kept going even when it was challenging, and you came up with some great ideas.”
Focus on the Process
It is also important to focus on the process rather than just the outcome. Instead of only praising children for getting an A on a test, for example, focus on the effort and strategies they used to prepare for the test. For example, you might say, “I can see how much effort you put into studying for that test. You made flashcards, practiced with a friend, and asked your teacher for help. That really paid off!”
Try to avoid comparing children to others when giving praise. Instead, focus on their individual effort and progress. For example, instead of saying, “You did better than your friend on that project,” you might say, “I am so impressed with the progress you have made on that project. You have really been putting in a lot of effort, and it shows.”
Encourage children to evaluate their own effort and progress. For example, you might ask, “How do you feel about the effort you put into that project?” or “What do you think you could do differently next time to make even more progress?” This can help children develop a sense of self-awareness and ownership of their own learning.
In conclusion, praising effort and progress can have a significant impact on children’s growth and well-being. It can help them develop a growth mindset, boost their self-esteem and resilience, and increase their motivation and engagement. By being specific, focusing on the process, avoiding comparisons, and encouraging self-evaluation, we can effectively praise children’s effort and progress. By implementing these strategies, we can support our children’s growth and well-being and help them develop into confident, motivated learners.
1. Should I never praise my child’s abilities or outcomes?
While it’s important to avoid solely praising abilities or outcomes, it’s okay to acknowledge and celebrate achievements. The key is to also recognize the effort and progress that led to those achievements.
2. What if my child doesn’t seem to be making progress?
It’s important to remember that progress looks different for every child and may not always be immediately visible. Instead of focusing on the outcome, try to notice and acknowledge the effort your child is putting in.
3. Can praising effort and progress lead to complacency?
No, praising effort and progress can actually increase motivation and engagement. When children feel that their effort is valued, they are more likely to continue putting in effort and striving for progress.
4. How can I encourage my child to evaluate their own effort and progress?
Encourage your child to reflect on their own learning by asking open-ended questions such as “What did you learn from this experience?” or “How did you feel about the effort you put in?” This can help them develop self-awareness and take ownership of their own learning.
5. What if my child is resistant to praise or compliments?
Some children may be uncomfortable with praise or compliments. If this is the case, try to use descriptive feedback instead of praise. For example, instead of saying “Good job,” you might say, “I noticed that you put a lot of effort into that project.” This can still acknowledge their efforts without making them feel uncomfortable.
We hope this article has provided you with useful insights and practical tips for supporting your child’s growth and well-being through praising effort and progress. If you have any additional tips or experiences to share, please leave a comment below or share this article on social media to help spread the word!