How to Praise Kids–Better

Pat on the Back & Thumbs Up

Credit: under Creative Commons

I was going through my back magazines and found this little snippet that I clipped. It’s been floating on my desk & I want to remember & share it,  so I thought I’d put it in my blog.  As both a teacher, teacher of pre-service teachers and a mom, it has many applications for me. It’s even a handy reminder for administrators! It reminds us that as adults, our praise of children–or of others–should be genuine, meaningful, and specific to what the person did.

The table is adapted from Parents magazine (November 2007, p. 9):

When you say…

It means…

Instead say…

“You’re the best writer in your class.”

The other kids are not as good as you.

“I can tell you’ve been practicing really hard. The characters in your story are so interesting–I want to read more.”

“Good girl!”

Nothing much.

“I noticed that you said please and thank you when asking to share rulers. You’ve really been working on your manners.”

“You’re a great soccer player no matter what happened on the field today.”

The adult is not being honest with you.

“I like that you kept trying even though your team had a rough day.”

“Wow, that’s the best drawing I’ve ever seen!”

The adult thinks every little thing you do is great.

“Those flowers are very colorful, and I like how your picture tells a story.”


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