I had a tremendous amount of feedback when I talked about motivating children several months ago on Periscope. I also wrote about it in my new book, There’s an Easier Way, in the chapter on Disciplining with Grace.
Over the years, I have found that affirming and expressing appreciation to our children is the easiest and most effective way to change their behavior.
The words that we use to affirm our children
must be specific and based on their character.
For example, if a woman in your church tells you that you are the best mom in the entire church, it wouldn’t have the same significance as if she said something more specific such as, “I appreciate the grace and love that you show the women in this church through the women’s ministry.”
We can encourage our children the same way. I keep a list of 44 godly character traits on post-it notes inside my kitchen cabinet to refer to, so I can quickly come up with words of affirmation without much thinking.
Here are some examples:
“Thank you Nancy for taking care of Diesel (the puppy). You were kind and showed compassion.”
“Becky, thank you for being helpful and cleaning up the toys without being asked. That makes mommy so happy because we’ll know just where to find them when we want to play with them again.”
“Tony, thank you for playing with your baby brother while I was busy. That was very considerate of you, and was a huge help for me.”
“Cindy, thank you for bringing me your coat when I asked. It shows that you respect and honor me.”
“Brad, I felt so happy when I saw that you made your bed this morning. Thank you for being diligent and remembering our rules by completing your chores.”
I started using words of affirmation when the children were just babies. Even at 12 months old I could see how much they loved to please me. Affirming even young children helps them want to repeat the desired behavior.
I’d love to read how you affirm your children!!