I went for a early childhood conference recently and was introduced to this article written by Shelly Phillips a little more than a year ago – ’10 Things to Stop Saying to Your Kids (and What to Say Instead)’. While I acknowledge that every child is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ parenting style or technique of handling difficult situations, her suggestions are really very sound.
Here’s a short snippet of her post-
The biggest problem with this statement is that it’s often said repeatedly and for things a child hasn’t really put any effort into. This teaches children that anything is a “good job” when mom and dad say so (and only when mom and dad say so).
Instead try, “You really tried hard on that!” By focusing on a child’s effort, we’re teaching her that the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’re attempting a difficult task and to see failure as just another step toward success.
For the other 9 things to stop saying to your child, check out the link above.
It’s really hard to remember and stop saying all 10 things at once. A good suggestion will be to write yourself a reminder card for every one of these 10 Things to Stop Saying, and carry one different card with you every week to serve as a reminder. This way, after 10 weeks, you should have internalised all 10 things!
In his book ‘drive’, Daniel Pink divides motivators into 2 categories, ‘extrinsic’, such as money and other tangible forms of rewards, and ‘intrinsic’, where one does things based on their own, internal ‘drive’. He is of the opinion that while extrinsic motivators are great for linear, simple tasks, over reliance on this will eventually backfire, causing one to become unmotivated.
Although the book is largely a self-help book, part of his book also talks about parenting. He has also put up a list of ‘to dos’ in his book, to help parents nurture intrinsic motivation in their children. Here are 5 of his suggestions:
- Make your children see homework in a different light:
– offer them autonomy over when and how to the work,
– only do work that promotes mastery,
– and make sure your child understands the purpose behind doing the work.
- Have a day every week where the child is free to explore and do whatever they want, without any restrictions.
- Make DIY report cards. School report cards are usually result-oriented, which cause the children to focus on getting results rather than the learning process. Make your own report cards based on the learning goals instead.
- Don’t bribe your child to do tasks. You can give your kids an allowance and also some chores, but don’t combine them. Your child will keep asking for rewards if you constantly associate tasks with rewards.
- Praise strategies:
– Praise your child for the effort and strategy used to solve problems, not intelligence.
– Only praise when there is a good reason for it.
– Make sure your praises specific, a simple ‘good job’ is insufficient.
– Praise should be given in private, not publicly.
For more about this, check out his book ‘Drive‘.
Recently we attended a seminar on effective communication with your child and were introduced to the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) Australia website. The brochures on the website are really useful, so I thought that I should share them here.
Here’s a link to the brochures page- http://napcan.org.au/resource-hub/napcan-brochures/
It contains several good articles in pdf format, such as
(I have provided a link to the same pdf files here, in accordance to the copyright laws)
Do check them out!
I have previously written about the importance of Reading in Children. Here are 5 ways to make reading more fun, and bring out the reader in your child!
1. Read and Play at the same time: Don’t just read the words on the page! Digress, have silly fun and pretend to be the animals on the page, or characters in the story.
2. Use voice variations, reading speed variations to your advantage: Why read the book with the same voice and tempo every time? Make every book reading sound different!
3. Guess the Story: Before reading a book for the first time, look at the cover and title and try to guess the story with your child. Make up a totally ingenious story and have a good laugh when your story fits/differs from the book.
4. Guess the Ending: Before the last page, guess with your child what the ending will be, and be surprised at how accurate your child can be!
5. Make sure you have a book wherever you go: Why let the time waiting for the bus go to waste? Turn it into reading time!