Last week I wrote about The Power of Praise to strengthen relationships. Here are some of the baby steps that I’ve taken to try to be more consistent in praising my family.
Each day as I pray for each member of our family, I start out by thanking God for some of the specific characteristics of each one. By thinking about and thanking God for the positives, I’m reminded of them myself and am more likely to express that gratitude to them in the form of praise or encouragement.
Praise first thing.
I know this seems simple, but when I first see each one in the morning I look them in the eye, give them a hug and tell them how happy I am to see them, to get to spend the day with them, etc. My goal is that each morning my family will start the day by hearing a reminder of how thankful I am for them and the blessing they are to my life.
Turn thanks to praise.
Our children have a lot of responsibilities around the house and in addition they often go above and beyond just because they wish to help Mark, me or one of their siblings. I’m frequently thanking the children for their sweet acts of service, but beyond that I try to praise them for the heart behind their actions. For example, “Thank you Carter for helping Nicholas find his socks. God has blessed you with a servant’s heart.”
Make it a habit.
There are regular occurrences during the day that I always use as an opportunity to give praise. Every time one of these things come up I praise my family.
One humorous example is when I’m called to the bathroom for wiping duty. As I enter the bathroom, I greet my little one with words of encouragement. “I’m so thankful that God has given you to me. You are such a big help to mommy when you pick up your toys.” or “You’ve been very kind to (siblings name) by letting them play with your blocks today, thank you!”
I also give praise when someone asks for help with a school assignment, asks me to do something for or with them, finishes their chores, or when I’m up at night with someone. Setting up times that I always encourage has helped me to encourage more consistently and spontaneously.
I’m not saying that you should delay correction when your child sins, but rather when they haven’t quite reached that high standard that we are aiming for. I use this specifically with checking chores and school assignments.
It goes something like this:
Six year old Savannah has completed a handwriting page and I think that the down stroke on her ‘d’ needs improvement. I look her page over and praise her for the things that she has done well and have her put her book away. End of lesson. Then the next day BEFORE she does handwriting I say, “Savannah, today I want you to focus on the down stroke on your ‘d’.
This enables us to encourage our children to continue to work toward high standards without always feeling that they are falling short. We are able to praise them for where they are and then the next time they tackle the task we give them them a goal to work toward.
When you think something positive about one of your children be sure to tell them. Don’t just think good thoughts, speak them.
Some of our children love to give and receive notes. It’s my theory that if I watch the way my children express love and gratitude, I will better know how they wish to receive love and gratitude. So especially for those children who frequently write me notes of thanks and encouragement, I make the effort to write them short notes of encouragement. It works best for me if I write out several notes at one time and then over the course of the next little while I leave them in places where the children will find them.
So how do you focus on incorporating praise into your daily life?
You may also enjoy:
- Writing notes to children