Teaching Children How to Praise and Compliment Others

by Kathryn Hatter

    Children with strong social skills engage more successfully with others, often getting along better with their peers. The ability to offer praise and compliments to others helps children to look for positive attributes or actions in others and smooths their social interactions with other people as they build connections with the people around them.

    Teach Self-Praise

    Teach your child to find specific instances for which she can praise herself, advises Purdue University Extension. When a child learns that she doesn’t need to rely on others to notice and praise her actions or strengths, she develops a strong self-concept that will breed success. Avoid encouraging bragging behavior, however, and teach your child to focus on comparing her current behavior or performance to her own past performance (“Look at the picture I drew! I know how to draw dogs much better now.”). Bragging usually makes a comparison between people, often using superlatives that lend an improbable feel to a statement (“I’m the best artist. I’m much better at drawing dogs than Bethany.”). When a child has a positive view of herself, she's more likely to be able to see the good in others, as well, and will be better able to notice and respond positively to their accomplishments.

    Praise Your Child

    Offer praise and compliments to your child whenever warranted to teach your child the skills and the mindset of praising others, suggests clinical psychologist Carolyn Webster-Stratton, with the Incredible Years website. Praise positive behavior or accomplishments with specific feedback about what you like about your child’s actions or behavior (“You really did a beautiful job on your piano solo at the recital. I’m proud of you for working so hard.”). By modeling how to praise and give compliments, you teach your child how to praise others.

    Encourage Praise

    Encourage your child to find opportunities to praise and compliment others because it lifts others up. Discuss how nice it feels for your child when someone else notices something positive about him and offers a compliment or praise. Help your child realize that the proud and happy feelings he feels when someone praises him can transfer to someone else if he praise or compliments them, too. Brainstorm situations when your child might offer praise to someone else as well and encourage him to look for opportunities so he can pay compliments to others.You could also encourage your child to find at least one opportunity to compliment someone else every day and then share his experiences every night with the family.

    Reinforce Praise

    Talk about times when your child has praised or complimented others, recommends the University of Washington Head Start Center. Provide positive feedback when you witness your child praising or complimenting others. Your feedback will help reinforce this behavior and should motivate your child to continue to look for opportunities to praise. Praise your child for her altruistic efforts to connect with other people.

    About the Author

    Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator and regular contributor to "Natural News." She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, crocheter, painter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. Hatter's Internet publications specialize in natural health and she plans to continue her formal education in the health field, focusing on nursing.

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