A sincere compliment from someone really can change your mood. Sincere, kind words can make the receiver feel appreciated, valued, and give them a feeling of happiness.
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Teaching Kids Compliments
So why should it be important to teach our kids how to give and receive a compliment? There is plenty of research out there to show you that both giving and receiving compliments makes positive changes for both the sender and the receiver. Compliments can improve moods and can make social engagements more enjoyable for both parties.
Kids are walking little sponges and if we teach them how to praise others, we are helping them mold their positive behaviors with social interactions in their life. But how do we go about doing this?
Role Play Complimenting
Lead by example. It can start at home.
You can teach your children how to praise each other. If there are no siblings or peers, you can do child to parent complimenting. The act of complimenting is a significant emotional intelligence skill and one that should be implemented in their daily life, just as math or reading is.
For example, you can compliment them and tell them how good it makes you feel to receive a compliment from them in return. Role play scenarios like complimenting characters or situations in story books, or things on television can help a child understand the act of complimenting too.
It is the act of complimenting that is what should be practiced, demonstrated daily and eventually, habit building. Complimenting also teaches children how to behave in a socially acceptable way and is a great way to teach manners as well.
You can help your child brainstorm on what to give a kind gesture on. Sometimes this can be challenging but planting the seed of complimenting can be beneficial in the long run for them.
Giving and Accepting
Sometimes it can be easier to give than to accept a compliment. People can have rebuttals to a sincere compliment like “oh, this old thing?” or “oh, my work isn’t really that great”, for example. It is helpful to teach children early on to not reject or deny a compliment, but to instead take it with appreciation and grace.
Sometimes, especially if someone has low self-esteem, they can think that a compliment is not true. If receiving a kind words is hard for your child and they do not know what to say after receiving a compliment, we can teach children to say “thank you very much” if they cannot think of something else to say now. Teaching children how to give and accept priase early on will help them socially for years to come.
There are a ton of helpful ideas and printables on the internet. If you have trouble yourself giving and receiving praise, this could help you too. As parents, we must be role models for our children. Above school, friends, and anyone else, we are the main characters in their story, so how we compliment and interact with them will build the foundation of their self-esteem and affect them for the rest of their lives. Praising them on aspects of themselves such strengths, qualities, and characteristics (instead of appearances), can really help their self esteem and establish a base for complimenting others in their life. Encouraging children to give compliments when they see the good in and around them, creates an awareness of positive feelings and emotions in themselves and others.
Wouldn’t it be great to have the next generation be full of kind words? It is something I would love to see.
Photo Credit :: Noëlle Westcott Photography