Awhile ago I blogged about the benefits of using words of encouragement over words of praise. Encouragement offers children support for positive behavior and motivates them to continue that wanted behavior. Oftentimes, behavior problems stem from children feeling discouraged and disheartened. The good news is that we can start today to focus on using encouraging words as often as possible!
While I work diligently on making sure my children’s cup is full of these uplifting words, I wanted to go one step further. I keep an “encouragement board” going in the corner of my children’s giant dry-erase board. I have written, “My kids are…” and then I follow it up with a word or words that inspire the kind of behavior I want to motivate. I change out the word every other day or so, plenty of time for them to notice it. I want them to know that I am always grateful for them, appreciate their efforts, and happy to celebrate their achievements with an eye toward keeping them motivated.
Encouragement goes such a long way toward positive behavior in children. By filling their little cups with heaps of support and inspiration, they feel secure about their actions and secure in your love and attention, so their behavior mirrors that positive reinforcement. Anytime we start to have problems or we start to have a series of days where we are backsliding, it is usually because I haven’t been as on top of offering them encouragement. I just forgive myself and promise to redouble my motivating efforts the next day, and I can start with my encouragement board! You can easily find encouraging words or phrases online if you need help getting started, but remember, encouragement is not the same as praise. Build a vocabulary of encouraging words and phrases and practice them everyday!