“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” – Johan Wolfgang van Goethe
Our kids are experiencing new things every day and making new mistakes every day. But while this is happening, they are growing and maturing right before our eyes. We can help this growth not just with our instruction, but with our encouragement as well. Our encouragement often means more, and is more effective, than the instruction we give. Remember to recognize and encourage your kids’ growth. Here are 5 ways you can do this.
1. Let them make decisions.
Look for opportunities to allow your kids to make a mistake and find a solution to the problem. When they do, tell them what you saw and why it made you proud.
2. Catch your kids doing something good.
Be attentive and catch your kids doing something good. When you see your kids being nice to their siblings, or doing something good that wasn’t required of them, bring it to their attention and do something unexpectedly good for them.
3. Notice hard work.
Notice when your kids work really hard to accomplish something. When you notice your kids giving the extra effort, tell them what that means to you and how it will help them become successful in life. Share examples of how hard work pays off.
4. Allow them to choose their own path.
Give them opportunities to make a decision you would normally make for them, like what to wear or how to spend money. Even if their decision is different than what you would have made, encourage them for being bold enough to make a decision and for being willing to live with the consequences of that decision.
5. Acknowledge their growth.
Watch their attitude and how they no longer get frustrated with certain things. When you catch them not getting as frustrated at the math problem they are struggling with, point it out and make a big deal out of it. Give them a pat on the back and say something really encouraging.
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