It can be hard to know when you’re getting parenting right, from time to time. There’s not some report card you get to tell you when you’re doing a great job. It’s enough to affect the confidence of any parent, but you just have to look at the cues your children give you. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Do people comment on how well behaved and polite they are?
Another sign that you’re getting it right is when your kids shine in one way or another. Great marks at school or achievements in their extracurricular activities are a positive sign. When your child aces a test, wins a race or gets a part in a school play, it’s clear you’re raising an able, confident youngster. You should be proud and reflect on your positive impact.
You should also make it clear your little one knows how proud of them you are. This is one of the most vital parts of parenting. When we are little, we want more than anything to win the approval of our parents. They are our role models, the people who show us how to live in this world. And they should know that when you do well, congratulations are in order.
Telling them on a regular basis is important for their development. Additionally, rewarding their achievement provides a positive reinforcement that will encourage continued effort. So when you feel like saying “Well Done!”, it is something that should be backed up materially. It’s something they can look at and know they’re on the right track.
Record The Moment For Posterity
One real benefit of the development of technology is that it’s easier than ever to record things. As long as you have your phone with you, you can snap a picture of anything. So, from a school sports day to an at-home craft project, you can capture any moment of achievement.
Printing out these photos and keeping them on a wall chart or similar in their bedroom means they can look at them whenever. If they ever question whether they’re doing well – and all kids wonder from time to time – they’ll have the proof there. This isn’t something you can just do with photos, either.
For example, if they get a report card that’s all, or mostly As, you can attach that (after taking a copy for yourself, of course). If they score the winning goal or sing a perfect solo, take clippings from the local paper. If the local paper didn’t run a report on the event, write one up yourself. Use your own photos of the event to make it more real.
Reward Them With A Day Out
All children have their own interests from an early age. You’ll remember your own, whether you were interested in dinosaurs, airplanes or anything else. Having an interest of this kind is excellent for a parent, too. It is a way you can encourage them to learn more.
For example, if they love a certain animal, you can buy them books about that animal. They’ll read voraciously about them and from that comes a love of learning.
But perhaps the best way of learning about something is to see it in the real world. Not only does it solidify the interest, but it will also excite your child. So if they’ve done really well at school and love pandas, take them to the zoo to see one for real. This is a particularly good way of doing things, as they’ll probably develop a love for another animal too. This will help them in their schooling.
The trip doesn’t have to be explicitly educational. If they love music, take them to a concert, if they love sport take them to a game. Take pictures, and keep any ticket stubs or wristbands from the day. These will be a kind of “trophy” for their achievement.
Make It About Them – Personalize The Reward
Do you remember when you yourself were a kid, and you liked to pretend to be on TV? Or sometimes, you’d interview yourself in your head? It’s all a sign of wanting to mark your place in the world – and as we see our heroes and heroines’ names in print and watch them on TV, we want to be like that.
This is also the reason kids like personalized gifts, and you can make this a way to reward their achievements. For example, you can buy them door signs or mugs with their name on them. Or to kick it up a notch, you can choose from a range of personalized bobbleheads. This can be a really positive way of doing things, too, as they can be ordered in a range of models.
For example, if your child does an amazing job on the sports field, you can get a bobblehead depicting them in soccer or running gear. If they do well academically, you can get one that shows them in graduation gear, and so on. Kids are used to seeing figurines of their favorite stars and TV characters. Giving them the same tribute will really up their confidence.
Make The Gift Reflect The Achievement
One way to encourage continued achievement is to reward your young one in a way which makes them determined to match and exceed it.
You may read here and there about sports stars who first showed an aptitude for the sport in their backyard. Soccer players who kicked an orange around because it was vaguely spherical. Give some kids a scrap of paper and some pens and they’ll draw or write something amazing. To reward this kind of achievement, you can scale up what they have to work with.
So if your youngster sings wonderfully at home with a hairbrush in front of the mirror, buy them a recording set with a real microphone. If they write ordering online.
One More Thing: Don’t Turn Up The Pressure
We’ve all seen those TV shows with parents who see a child with a natural talent as their own ticket to fame and riches. It is vital to find the dividing line between pushy parent and proud parent. The latter will make your kid want to achieve because they love seeing you proud. The former will make them scared not to achieve because Mommy wants a second home in St. Lucia.
By all means encourage them in what they are good at. Underline to them the importance of not throwing away something they enjoy because they don’t feel like it one day. On the flipside, though, don’t make them feel like they are locked into something because they showed an interest.
If you say “What do you mean, you don’t want to play tennis today? I bought you that racket!”, or similar, it means you’re attaching conditions to their reward. Which kind of makes it not a reward, but a bribe. And at that point, you really need to look at why you’re encouraging their abilities.
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