Expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it’s important. Affirmation from a parent plays a big role in shaping a child’s self-confidence and attitude. So here is a checklist which gives you seven ways to affirm your child:
- Hug your kids every day. Hugs build bonds and foster a sense of security and comfort. Research says there are health benefits to hugs, too! If you don’t live with your kids full-time, make sure they get hugs every time you see them.
- Say “I love you” every day. Sure, your kids know that you love them. You demonstrate it every day by what you do for them. But hearing the words makes a difference. Say it when you praise them or after disciplining them; but say it! And say it often!
- Compliment your kids at least three times each week. Maybe it’s their appearance, improvement in a certain area, their interaction with a sibling or praising a character trait they demonstrate.
- Ask your kids one way you can improve as a parent. They’ll appreciate you valuing their opinion and you’ll set an example of humility. Then, if the suggestion is accurate, act on their feedback.
- Say “thanks” often, even in the busyness of juggling the family’s schedule and daily needs. Find things to say thanks to your kids. Thank them for doing their chores, sharing with their siblings, or just being awesome in general.
- Show excitement to see your kids when you come home. Make coming home a big deal. Intentionally greet your kids. Seeing them is the highlight of your day – show it!
- Surprise them. Do something nice or give them a gift/treat. You don’t have to wait for birthdays or special occasions to surprise your kids. It doesn’t have to be pricey. Pick up ice cream for dessert or leave a funny note on their bed.
For more information, visit Matthew L. Jacobson’s blog: 101 Words of Affirmation Every Child Wants to Hear.