Building Your Child's Confidence with Effective Praise

Every good parent or teacher knows the importance of giving children positive reinforcement for a job well done. Keep these 4 strategies in mind when giving children praise and inspire them to keep up the good work! 

Be Specific: 

When you give a child specific feedback you are able to highlight exactly what they did well and set clear expectations for the future. Instead of using a blanket “good job” after a child achieves an accomplishment, try making your response more detailed. For instance, “I love the way you told me that story” or “Great job answering all of those questions”.  The more specific the better!

Deliver Instantly: 

In order for praise to start shaping positive behaviors, it needs to be delivered to the child immediately. Sometimes children require continuous feedback in order to complete a challenging task. For example, if your little one has difficulty cleaning up toys try continuing to repeat the phrase (e.g.,“great job cleaning”)  until they are finished. Once a child becomes more proficient in the task, you can scale back how frequently the praise is given. 

Recognize your Child’s Efforts: 

When a child is expending significant effort to complete a task, be sure to recognize their hard work. Children often deliver subtle cues with their body language when frustration levels are rising. Are they beginning to fidget in their seat? Have their breathing patterns changed? Acknowledging this frustration could be as simple as saying, “I see this is a little difficult for you” or “Are you feeling frustrated?”.  Once a child’s feelings are out on the table you can support their efforts with, “ I see you’re working very hard” or “You’re doing a great job staying calm”. This acknowledgement is usually the extra push a child needs to persevere through a challenging task. 

Discuss the Value of the Accomplishment: 

Adults often ask children to complete activities without stating a clear purpose. We know that finishing our green beans will lead to optimal health,  but children don’t always understand the value of certain tasks. Alongside of specific praise (e.g.,“I love that you ate all of your green beans”) be sure to describe the importance of their work (e.g., “Eating green beans make our bodies healthy and strong”). 

How do you keep your child motivated to learn? Share your tips and tricks below in the comments. 

Over to you...

Does your nonverbal child with autism struggle with attention? Any tricks you've found successful? Share your story in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you!


I send out blogs like this regularly, offering my expertise and useful tips for parents about all things related to child learning, speech and language development and the use of technology to help children’s communication.

Sign up here and get my free parent video series, “Communication Crash Course,” which will help you learn the basics to helping your child start communicating. If you’re a speech-language pathologist click here to download my free communication board. That way you’ll always be updated first when I release new content!


Loved this post? Then use the icons below to tweet it, share it on Facebook and send it to your friends via email.