Encouragement is more than simple phrases: teachers should consider how to phrase encouragement in a way that is meaningful to children. When encouragement is effectively phrased, children gain a better understanding of how and what they are doing. Encouragement is specific feedback that a child can take pride in. When children learn the value of effort and perseverance, to consider the process, they are able to apply these qualities to their everyday lives. Positive encouragement supports children in learning valuable self-regulation skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Consider the following and turn words of praise into words of encouragement.
Praise vs. Encouragement
To express approval or admiration for.
To inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
Oftentimes it’s easier for teachers to praise children rather than encourage them because it takes less time and less effort to do so.
Encouraging children focuses on the child and their attempt to complete the task and builds more on self-esteem than praise does
Focuses on the child’s accomplishment rather than their effort into doing the task
Leads children to reflect on their efforts rather than fixating on what they were or weren’t able to accomplish.
Praise often comes paired with a judgment or evaluation, such as “best” or “good.”
Encouragement statements are based on descriptive feedback.
You worked hard and figured that out.
Tell me about your picture. I saw you really concentrating while you made it.
You did it! How does that make you feel?
You kept going until you finished the job.
Interested in learning more strategies to support children's social and emotional development? Log on to H&H Child Care Training Center (ChildcareEd) and register for a course today.