Positive affirmations can be highly effective for encouraging our kid’s good behaviour. Think about how you feel when your boss gives you a pat on the back, or your husband praises your cooking. Our kids are the same, it feels good to have the good pointed out. But if you want to get the most out of using praise and positive affirmations, you have got to get your technique down pat. I’m here to help.
How To Give Positive Affirmations
It is a whole lot more than a “good job buddy!” in passing, there’s a way to do it right.
- Stop what you are doing and give full undivided attention to your child.
- Describe what you see and how it makes you feel. “I see a clean room and laundry put away, that makes me feel so happy!”
- Make a physical connection, too, This could be a high five, or a hug, a pat on the shoulder, etc.
The positive behaviour should always be acknowledge in two ways: verbally and physically. It helps to portray your sincerity and will make your child feel proud, and like she matters. This will help strengthen your relationship with your child.
When To Give Positive Affirmations
Don’t wait until your son has been doing something for a while before you take the time to notice it.
- Acknowledge his behaviour within the first few seconds of him doing the right thing. Don’t give him an opportunity to act up before you have had the chance to notice.
- Immediately after inappropriate behaviour, when he starts to calm down and do what is expected.
- All the time. Lay it on thick, 50 times a day thick. If he’s cranky that day, cake it on some more. You can always find a positive within the negative – find that positive and point it out.
What To Give Positive Affirmations About
Don’t just praise them for the really good things, those things that rarely happen. Your daughter deserves praise for everything!
- Start with a list of five things she does every day and plan ahead to notice them. This could be brushing her teeth, eating all her food, playing with her brother, etc. These five things should be things she is already good at . “Thank you so much for putting your plate in the sink, it’s so great to have your help.”
- Take time each day to point out the good qualities in her personality and how you admire them. “You are so artistic. I really love looking at your drawings and your creative way of mixing colours”
- Give praise before she even starts doing something. If you see your daughter walking towards the bathroom, say “Oh perfect you’re going to brush your teeth! I love that I don’t even have to ask” Maybe she wasn’t on her way to brush her teeth, who cares, she is now..
Keep Track Of Their Reactions
Track what you are noticing each day and how your son starts reacting to your new found positivity. The first week my husband and I followed this method of positive affirmations our kid’s reactions were very interesting. We chose to praise the kids for sitting on their bums, getting dressed, hanging up their coats, brushing their teeth, and putting their shoes on. The first day my kids exchanged some weird looks at me. They didn’t know why I was doing that. The second day was even stranger, my son would sometimes yell when I said something nice, trying to test me.
By the end of the week though? They were thoroughly enjoying it. My daughter would be hanging her coat up, and she would move very slowly and loudly clear her throat and say “mommmmmyy…” waiting for me to look over and get irrationally excited over her coat. My son would say “Look at me! Look at me!” at the dinner table because he was sitting on his bum.
This is why it works.
They loved it! They pretended not to at first, but secretly they loved it. And all that praise felt good, which is why they made sure to get my attention every time they were doing something I had been praising them for. This encourages your children to start looking for more ways to get positive attention from you. Go over your list at the end of the week and add to it as necessary. Choose a behaviour you want to work on (one at a time) and plan to notice it.
You can find more great advice about using positive affirmations in Adele Faber’s book How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk
You can get a free printable planner here. Use it every week to plan what you will notice, track your childs progress, and keep yourself accountable. Positive Affirmations Weekly Planner (31 downloads)