“Well done” is half a sentence

“Well done” is half a sentence

Focusing on helping parents to be more specific in the praise of their children.

When they do this, it is a form of coaching.

It helps children to see what skills and behaviours their parents value and want to see more of.

From a child’s perspective, they may have done 3-4 different things (in their head) and generic praise does not leave them knowing what they did well.

When we are vague and say “Well done”, “Good job” or “That’s great” or some version of these, we are not taking the opportunity to help our children learn and also as importantly to really feel successful because they know (and don’t have to guess) what they are good at.

Sentences such as these support your child to know specifically what they are doing well.

“Well done, good sitting”

“Well done, lovely manners”

“Good job, that was a very friendly thing to say”

“Excellent counting”

Let’s Talk About It

Please share some examples of specific praise you use with your children?

What are you modelling for your children?

What are you modelling for your children?

Parents often wonder where they children pick up the behaviours they do. Things like being messy, using bad language, being slow at doing something are the disgruntled complains of parents the world over.

More worrying for parents can be when children are overly anxious. Its not always the case, but very commonly children are replicating the behaviours they see their parents doing. We don’t always realise what we are doing, or we can see our child doing the same behaviour as the other parent but often we can’t see or believe that they may be replicating our own behaviour.

There is a psychological theory called social learning theory which basically says that children do what they see and time and time again we see it replicated in children’s behaviour.

Instead of using this message as a whip to hit yourself with and feed any internal dialogue of being a poor parent, use this information as a starting point to create awareness of your own behaviours and think of a way of you dealing with that behaviour.

Doing this will lead to change in your behaviour and then you will

1. Model something different for your child
2. Show them that there is something about yourself that does not always help you, you can make a decision to work on it.

Children see everything their parents do-you can have more control over what they see you doing. Be aware of what you do and what they see.


Let’s Talk About It

What would you like to see your children doing? Are you modelling that for them now or something different? Share your thoughts with us?

Do you finish your children’s sentences for them?            

Do you finish your children’s sentences for them?            

We often finish our children’s sentences for them. Sometimes we ask them a question and give them no time to answer before jumping in ourselves, presuming we know what their answer is.

They may be doing their homework, or practising their times tables and ask for help. It’s all too common to ask them a question such as “what is the first sound in the word Apple?” and give them no time to answer before saying “It’s a”. They are given no time to process the question or formulate the answer before being given the answer. Finishing our children’s sentences robs them of daily opportunity to develop their personalities , their confidence in their own ability to answer and their language abilities.

Let’s take the situation of asking them about an argument that they had with a sibling or a friend. Often we ask the question “what happened?” And when they are halfway through the sentence, we finish it for them such as

Child: “ I wanted the toy and Alex had it so….”

Adult “so you grabbed it off him!”

It may be true that they grabbed the toy but it also may not be true. However, the child will believe that you think they grabbed it because you said it.

When we finish the child’s sentence we don’t give them an opportunity to express their perspective, their opinion. This is very frustrating for the child and they may act out their frustration.

When we finish the child’s sentence, we are teaching them that we have the answers but they don’t. This reduces their self belief about answering questions.

When we finish the child’s sentence, we are not allowing them the time to process the question and plan the answer, key skills in developing confidence and ability to discuss topics and negotiate plans.

When we finish the child’s sentence, we are communicating that we are not really interested in what they have to say.

Take your time and give your child time to speak. You may be surprised by what they have to say.

Let’s Talk About It

Have you ever finished your children’s sentences for them?

Reflect on why are you finish this your children’s sentences and share your musings with us.

I can’t get my child to brush teeth for longer than 10 seconds.

I can’t get my child to brush teeth for longer than 10 seconds.

A mundane task such as brushing your teeth is something that children don’t want to engage with for a long period of time and sometimes it is so short they may as well not be brushing them at all.

Sound dental advice indicates that we should brush your teeth for two minutes morning and evening to ensure a deep clean, however instructing a young child to brush their teeth for two minutes can seem like an eternity leading to harsh words and often tears.

However, using a timer replaces you as the object of distain. Starting your little ones off with a one minute timer, using Alexa or Siri or any other virtual assistant technology for ease can take the job of monitoring how long they are brushing their teeth for out of your hands and instead relates it to the timer. This then means that you can concentrate on instructing them how to clean their teeth, forwards and backwards, up and down, the back to the teeth and ideally their gums also.

It always amazes me how responsive children are to timers and therefore as parents we can use them as an aid to support their development and maintain our patience.


Let’s Talk About It

What mundane task is your child currently struggling to focus on?

Let us know how the timer worked for your children.

Let us know what other activities you have use the timer for?

Children Learn What They Live

Children Learn What They Live

Poem by Dorothy Law Nolte 

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. 
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. 
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy. 
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty. 
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. 
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence. 
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. 
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world. 

This wonderful poem by Dorethy Law Nolte outlines how what we model for our children is what they then act out. Take some time and think about what you would like for them as they grow and become adults. I hear parents tell me

I want them to be happy
Ask yourself do you model happiness for them? Do you engage in activities that make you happy? Do you create opportunities for yourself that lead to happiness?

I want them to have good mental health
Ask yourself, do you take care of your mental health? Do you practice strategies that create a positive mental health for yourself

I want them to be kind
Do you practice genuine kindness for them to see?

I don’t want them to be like me
Ask yourself, what aspects of yourself do you not wish to pass on, then actively work on showing them something different.

We often believe that we can hide aspects of ourselves from our children but they see everything we do and read our energies of love, anxiety and fear. When we work on ourselves we support our children’s mental health as well as our own.


Let’s Talk About It

What would you like for your child as they grow and become adults?

What do you think you are currently modelling to your children to inspire them?