I make no bones about it! Children do not bank your praise and save it for a rainy day. It slips right by them. Why is that?
Receiving positive feedback for most people is difficult and that is because we were not given the training during our childhoods to stop, listen and take in those off-hand remarks of good job, way to go, nice project, etc. These remarks do not compute fully and are not remembered in the long term. How do you have to phrase the remark so it is not offhand and what skills do your children need to receive them?
Let’s begin on how to phrase them. In every coin of positive feedback, there needs to be specificity. You need to tell the child what job he/she did well. Also, it must begin with the word, “I”, and include an action word and a description of the job that was well done. For Ex. I am so proud of you for your help with the new girl and how you are helping her to feel a part of our class. I can see the hard work in this social studies project and I am proud of the way you showed how creative you can be. Children love to please their teachers and parents and when you are specific they recognize how to get your appreciation at another time.
How do you teach or train your children to receive positive feedback? This is actually a very important skill. If we do not learn this, then only the negative feedback will be remembered. That seems to stick like glue. This will effect every aspect of becoming emotionally able to meet challenges and overcome life’s ups and downs. Children have challenging times too. Getting positive feedback to remain active and banked, takes acknowledgment that you were heard. Reinforcing your positive feedback comes from the child replying with an "I" message acknowledging your feedback. For Ex.”Thank you, Mrs. Smith, I am really glad that I can help the new girl in our class. Mrs. Smith, thanks for thinking my project was neat and that I made it different.”
Stop, give, listen and receive. Yes, it takes work just like all important skills do. We didn’t learn to read or do math in one easy step. However, if you do this, the rewards will be great.
Oh, how my life would have been different if I had only been taught as a child or young adult to receive kindness and encouragement. Was there any positive things said to me? What I remembered was how I was bullied, discouraged and left to fend for myself emotionally.
Teachers today have overwhelming amounts of paperwork. Please take the time to give your children the gift of remembering what is so very good about them. Your classroom will become a place where they feel appreciated and emotionally supported on many levels. It's magic!
Please visit my website for there are many new free activities that promote social and emotional learning. EQforChildren.com