In celebration of the release of my book, Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time (its main theme is encouragement), I offer thee seven ways to encourage your child! It's so easy to slip into the discouraging parental mode – they give us so many opportunities! That makes it all the more important to make a conscious effort to encourage whenever we can. Trust me, they'll be more apt to listen when they know you're on their side. Wouldn't you be?
Believe- It all starts here. You can motivate and energize your child simply by believing in her. It will color all of your interactions and buoy your child's determination and self-confidence.
Articulate- Don't be shy – we're all family here! You want to encourage your child? Tell him clearly you believe in him and formally acknowledge his efforts. Help him get in touch with his intrinsic pride by asking him how he feels when he achieves. Express yourself!
Listen!- No greater gift you can give your child than your undivided attention and admiration. You'll be bolstering her language development, emotional development and social development all be lending your enthusiastic ears. This age-old practice (listening) works for toddlers as well as teens!
Model "Can-Do"- Confidence is contagious! Monkey see – monkey do. All that jazz! Stay positive! Believe in yourself and deliver life lessons to your child firmly and directly. Treat your own mistakes as learning opportunities and she will too.
Break it Down!- Your toddler frustrated? Yeah, they do that. Remember it's their first encounters with these emotions. We take it for granted that we have internalized the process of finding solutions. Help young children by breaking tasks down into smaller, digestible steps. Applaud his effort along the way.
Play Socrates- Encourage their independence by refraining from the natural inclination to fix everything. Rather, ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions that scaffold your child to her own discoveries and conclusions!
Don't Discourage-It bears mentioning. Really no need for you to constantly be the bad guy. Talk about the natural consequences of his choices and gently help him learn to be accountable. Deliver expectations in an encouraging manner. Eventually he will understand you're in his corner. In time, he'll make rational decisions that benefit himself.
Plant seeds of encouragement today! You and your child will reap immediate and continuous rewards!photo credit