Be Encouraging, Momma. No Buts About It!

Our words will do one of two things:  

Build our kids up.

Or….

Tear them down. 

  Isn’t it easy to walk into a room, and focus on what ISN’T done?

“Why didn’t you put your books away? You know where they go!”

Instead, I am trying hard to find something positive first….

“Great job cleaning up the play food!  I like how neatly you put them on your kitchen shelves!  Now, who will come work on picking up these books?”

  See how much different that sounds?!  I am always surprised at how much my children gobble those positive words up.  They puff up, beam with pride and try that much harder. 

    Here are 101 ways to encourage your child:

  Granted, we use some unusual phrases in our home like: “That is wrong behavior!”  “Make a healthy choice!” Or “Slow Obedience is NO obedience!”  But still, not all of these phases listed below, are words that would come out of my mouth on a regular basis.  I think you’ll still get the general idea!!! 🙂

That’s Incredible!  How Extraordinary! Far Out! Outstanding Performance! I can’t get over it! Great! Amazing Effort!  Unbelievable Work! Wonderful! Marvelous!  Phenomenal! You’ve Got It! Superb!  Cool! Excellent!  You’re Special! Your work is out of sight!  Your project is first rate! You’ve outdone yourself! Way To Go! Thumbs Up! You’re a good friend! You came through! Terrific!  You tried hard! Your help counts!  You made it happen! It couldn’t be better! Fantastic work!  You’re a real trooper! Fabulous!  Bravo!  Exceptional! You’re Unique!  Awesome!  Breathtaking!  The time you put in really shows!  You’re a great example for others!  Keep up the good work! I knew you had it in you!  Dynamite!  Its everything I hoped for! You should be proud of yourself!  What an imagination!  You made the difference! Well Done! 

You’re Sensational! Very Good!  A plus work!  Super Job!  Good for you!  Take a bow!  You figured it out!  Great answer!  You’re doing a lot better! Thanks for being honest!  How artistic!  Hooray for you!  You’re a Joy!  How thoughtful of you! You’re amazing! You’re getting there!  What a great idea! You deserve a hug!  Thanks for trying!  You’ve made great progress! You’re getting better!  You’re a big help!  You’re neat! You’ve got what it takes!  You’re #1!  You’re a shining star! You can be trusted! Wow! Remarkable!  Beautiful!  I’m so proud of you! Very impressive! You’re sharp!  You’re a winner!  Hot Dog! Spectacular word! You’re so kind!  You’ve really grown up! What a great listener!  Thanks for helping!  Great Discovery!  You’ve earned my respect!  Thanks for caring!  You’re A-Okay!  You’re a great kid! How original!  You’re a champ!  You’re a pleasure to know!  Very brave! What a genius! You’re very talented!  You’re the greatest! You’re very special! You’re super!  You on target!  I love you!

   I am always surprised and blessed by how well my children respond to “I like” statements, and how quickly the atmosphere of the room can change when I use them. 

Tylan, I like how kind you are being to Destiny when you share your crayons.”

Next thing I know, Avery is SHOVING her crayons across the table: 

Avery: “Here Destiny! See mommy, I share too!”

“Good Avery, we show kindness and love when you share!”

Avery beams with pride: “I make God happy!”

  It’s funny how those phrases, when used consistently, become “catch phrases” in a home.  I hear the children using that sentence to each other all the time!!

Tylan (scolding):  ”Avery! You show me kindness and love like God wants you to!”

Destiny (in a mommy voice):  “Now Tylan and Avery, are you listening to God or satan when you act that way?”

  Here is the link to the following article on how to encourage your toddler:

———————————————————————————————————————————–  Children, when they’re between the ages of two and four, are typically inclined to be helpful, generous and loving. While it’s true that this is the age of toddlerhood and the dreaded temper tantrums, it is also the age when children cry out for the most amount of attention. Tantrums are sometimes a direct result of inadequate attention or children being taught (albeit not consciously) that if they wail and cry they’ll get the object of their desire.Parents and caregivers need to understand how to help children become a natural and contributing part of the household rather than constantly admonishing them. This approach will build upon the positive attributes that are inherently built into every child’s psyche.  The attributes present in every child from an early age are:

    Willingness to help
    Willingness to share
    Need for self-respect
    Need for attention and praise

Here’s how a parent or caregiver, can bring out a child’s existing inclination to do good things!

Let Children Help!

When toddlers see adults doing chores around the house, they feel inclined to join in. This is the point when most adults will caution children to be careful with admonitions such as “don’t touch or you’ll break it” or “don’t do it, it’ll create a mess”. It is imperative for adults to reverse this behavior by actually enlisting a child’s help with chores. This will help in generating positive feelings in a child and grow a toddler’s confidence.

Here are some ways to encourage children to be helpful:

  • Ask children for help with dusting furniture, being careful to let them dust in safe areas such as on the couch, or on the coffee table, etc. Children can use a dust rag, a tissue, or even a feather duster.
  • Enlist a child’s help in setting the table. Hold the child above the table if need be to accomplish this.
  • Make a game of putting toys away everyday. For example, it is nearly as much fun building a Lego block as it is demolishing it block by block and tossing the blocks back inside the bag!

These techniques help enhance a toddler’s built-in antennae for helping and contributing.

Give Toddlers Choices

Children feel so helpless when they are restricted in what they can and cannot do. Sometimes just giving them some options that won’t hurt or harm anyone is the key to giving them some measure of control.

The solution is to give them choices!

  • Pick out two outfits for young kids to wear to school and let them choose their favorite one.
  • Pick out a few bedtime books and let children choose which ones will be read on a particular night.
  • Choose two different fruits and ask kids which they’d like to have for a snack.

Using these techniques will help children feel good about themselves because they will realize they are part of the solution and directing some (albeit small) part of their own life!

Talk To Kids Like They Understand Every Word

Talking to children seriously and using simplified logic can sometimes work wonders with testing their level of comprehension. The results can be impressive if this approach is followed through on a regular basis.

Here are some tips on talking to children:

  • While its okay to use baby talk occasionally, save it for cuddle time. Use proper English to explain and answer the endless “whys” and “hows” of a toddler.
  • Use simplified explanations. For example if a child asks “why do I have to brush my teeth?” a really simple answer would be “So that your teeth don’t turn yellow. Yellow means dirty teeth (said with a frown) and white means clean teeth! (said with a smile)”
  • Never ignore a child who is asking questions and never answer the question with a vague answer. If a parent doesn’t know the answer simply acknowledge not knowing it and then help the child find the answer (by looking it up on the net or asking someone else, etc)
Treat Children With Respect

This one’s pretty straightforward. Saying “thank you”, “sorry”, and other niceties will help a child learn that he/she is someone to be respected. Self-respect grows from the respect a parent showers on the child.

Showcase Desirable Behavior for Kids to Emulate

When children see an adult performing chores around the house, being polite and generally behaving well, they’re likely to do the same. Children usually have one ear tuned to what adults around them are saying and doing, even when seemingly busy playing with their toys. The best way to get them to exhibit a certain behavior is for adults around them to teach by example.

Every parent should harness the positive characteristics present in children from a very young age. Too soon they may be turning into rebellious teens anyway! Therefore the best time to inculcate good behavior is in toddlerhood – this increases their chances of following the same behavior when they become adults.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

   Sooo, I’d encourage you to try something today…..

Make a conscious effort (it’ll be hard, but try) to speak 1 positive thing before a corrective or negative thing, comes out of your mouth, for example: 

 I like how nicely you are eating your lunch!  Next bite, please chew with your mouth closed, ok?”

  Also, be careful of your use of the word but.  You don’t want to cancel out your positive comment with a hook of  “BU-UUT….” 

Read the two sentences below:

“Thanks for sharing your doll honey, BUT we don’t throw toys.” 

“Thanks for sharing your doll honey!  Next time your sister asks for it, just hand it to her, ok?  We don’t throw toys.”

See how the whole tone of the sentence changes? 

Once there is instruction on your compliment, rather than a condition, it changes everything.

  Also, I’d encourage you to NEVER follow the words “I love you” with a “but…..”  There are no conditions on your love for your child, so we want to be sure they never think otherwise!

“I love you honey, but you just can’t behave like this.”

Instead, try…..

“You are using wrong behavior, please stop acting like this.

“Yes mom.”

“I love you sweetie!” 

“Love you too mommy.”

  This is something I am working on constantly!!!!!!!!!!  I’d encourage you to daily seek God for help in changing the way you communicate with your kids….

Trust me, you and I will be approaching the throne of Heaven with the VERY same request!

May today, we be the BEST mommies we can be…..full of positive things to say to our families today, no matter what we encounter! 🙂 

~T

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3 thoughts on “Be Encouraging, Momma. No Buts About It!

  1. Excellent Post Tonya You could not have said it any better!!! This is something we have been working hard on in our house to trying to remember to build up not tear down when dissapointed. Our oldest especially needs lots of encouragement and gets easily discouraged with even the smallest words so I have to try to do this every day!!

    Your post is very inspirational as always YOU GO Girl!!! Love it!!

    Heather

  2. What a great reminder Tonya! Instead of DISCOURAGING bad behavior, try INCOURAGEING good behavior!! C: Thanks Tonya!

  3. love this! my parents RARELY said, “i love you” or “thanks” or “great job”……..or any kind of positive feedback…..SAD. so, i strive daily as well, to do BETTER with my own kids with positive interactions, feedback, etc. it IS a conscious effort…and worth every bit of it 🙂

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