Laughter ripples in a small house in the suburbs and happy shrieks of a child can be heard! You walk into the house and you see the mother, grandmother loudly clapping at the toddler for his first attempt at walking independently.
From a very early age, a child is motivated to keep trying and keep doing the best it can do. We applaud, we share words of appreciation, ‘What a wonderful voice you have!’, ‘You are doing a great job of writing a story!’, ‘Wow, that was a great run!’, and above all, we tell the children that all they need to do is try and they will succeed.
IBPYP and Oakridge, one of the best schools in Chandigarh also live with this ideology and believe that positive reinforcement will yield way better results than any extrinsic motivation could bring. A lot of times we confuse random appreciation with positive reinforcement. Appreciation for the sake and were not needed becomes a burden more than a reliever. Here are a few things to keep in mind while appreciating your child:
1. Be genuine – Yes, motivating the child, appreciating their work, telling them what a good job they have done is important, but, what is more, important is the reason! A pat on the back for a thing that has not been done by someone is not only unfair but also dishonest. We want our children to excel and be ambitious. We want them to become leaders and be owners of vast empires. And the only way is for them to be given the correct motivation at the correct time for the correct thing.
2. Be constructive – As an IB PYP school, all teacher feedback and observations are utilized to construct meaningful learning, develop a better understanding and enhance engagements. Similarly, appreciation works as a driving force that needs the right propeller. ‘You have done extremely well in your assessment. I am so proud of you!’. This is probably a universal sentence spoken to millions of children across the globe. However, something is missing here. Let’s try again. ‘You have done extremely well in your assessment. The story that you wrote was meaningful and all the paragraphs connected well with each other. The use of present tense throughout the story allowed for the audience to connect well. Use of various figures of speech will take your story to an even higher level. I am so proud of you.’ Do you see the difference?
3. Appreciate at the right time – A small thank you note, a letter of gratitude, taking them out for a treat – there are multiple ways of appreciating children. Appreciation needs to happen at the correct time. Delayed thank you note or even an outing will lose its essence if done after a month! Immediate appreciation works wonders!
4. Appreciate on a public platform – To enhance the feeling of jubilation and to inspire others the best way to appreciate is in public. Appreciate your child in front of other people. They feel more valued and this helps build their confidence immensely.
We have a huge advantage with ourselves – children want to be applauded! They want to hear being recognized for efforts that they have made. Well, if the children do desire being appreciated all we need to do is grab every opportunity to give each child genuine, constructive, timely, public appreciation!