As the age old saying goes; “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” However, it is important not to overlook the impact words can have on our young ones, especially positive ones!

Naturally, as parents we want to tell the world about every small milestone our child achieves, but not only should we be sharing this with others, most importantly we should be praising our children themselves.

Praising your child can come in many forms; a cuddle, a high 5, a new toy, a golden star, but sometimes it is the words they hear that can have the most profound impact. When a child experiences positive reinforcement about something they have achieved, this can increase the likeliness of this behaviour being repeated.

Using sincere and honest praise is a gateway to increasing your child’s self-esteem and motivation. Noticing their behaviour has been recognised can encourage them to exhibit this behaviour again as opposed to the negative language associated with bad behaviour. Of course, we have to manage the fine line of praising and over indulging our little ones with praise. Often giving your child feedback about why what they have done is positive can help to prevent this.

Similarly, ensure to praise effort as well as outcome, this will help children to understand they must endure a process that leads them to a positive result. Praising just a singular skill or ability does not help them to understand so easily. For example, in SoccerDays classes we aim to use praise such as “your dribbling has improved so much this session, that helped you to take on the defender and score” rather than “great goal” that just focuses on the outcome.

Science also suggests that praise leads to an increase in dopamine in the brain, this increase will hopefully lead to the child themselves having more positivity to share with their friends, helping them to become friendly and supportive individuals.

Praise is a sure way to put a smile on your little ones face as well as yours when you are beaming with pride at their achievements! However small or big, helping your child to understand emotions by sharing yours with them will be a life skill they carry with them forever.