Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to Teach Kids to Praise Others

Everyone enjoys being praised for doing something well. Whether it is for working hard on something, achieving some new milestone, or just being praised for being kind to others, kids and adults alike enjoy hearing that they are, essentially, being awesome. Teaching kids how to praise others is quite easy, I think in comparison to other social skills, since it can easily be incorporated into everyday interactions right from birth.

However, kids with autism and/or hyperlexia might need additional support to master this social skill. Here are 7 ways to teach kids how to praise others.

Tips for teaching kids how to praise others from And Next Comes L

Strategies for Teaching Kids How to Praise Others


Teaching kids how to praise others is just one of 50 social skills to teach kids and can be achieved with these simple strategies.

1. Be an example & model

The absolute best way to teach kids how to praise others is by being a good example yourself and modeling how to praise others. That includes praising your child for their accomplishments, whether big or small, and even praising the efforts of others that you interact with. Remember, kids pay more attention to our behavior rather than what we say so if they regularly see us praising others, they will pick up on it. And keep in mind that you don't have to praise your child for everything they do.

2. Be specific when praising

Avoid non-descriptive phrases like "good job" or "way to go" or "you're so smart" when praising others. You should be specific about why you are praising your child so that they can learn and internalize what it is that they did that was praise-worthy. The praise should be related to something your child has the ability to control. Phrases such as "good job" fail to tell the child what it is that they are being praised for. Besides, it is an abstract phrase for literal thinking kids with autism or hyperlexia so means little to them. For example, you might say, "I like how you put your dirty clothes away all by yourself!" instead of just saying "good job."

3. Model nonverbal ways to praise

Words aren't always necessary when praising others. Show your child how you can clap, give a high five, smile, or give a fist bump as a way to encourage and praise others without using words.

4. Teach empathy and compassion

This strategy is so important and can be the hardest of all these strategies listed here to master, especially in younger children. Teaching kids to think about how others might be feeling can help them be better at praising others because then they are capable of understanding what the needs of the other person might be and can praise accordingly.

5. Give them scripts for how to praise

Teach your child some specific phrases or templates for praising that they can use when trying to praise others. I know my son often has a tough time phrasing his exact thoughts, so simple social scripts are a way to give him the foundation he needs to word his praise in an appropriate manner. Eventually the scripts can be phased out as the child learns to create their own encouraging words. Also, be sure to teach them the hidden rules of praising others.

6. Teach your child to be observant

Help your child learn to be more observant by pointing out things that are praise-worthy. Encourage them to look around them and see how people are acting and feeling. You can also ask your child questions to encourage them to observe what is happening around them.

7. Practice praising others

You can practice praising others through play and role playing. Or you can prompt your child to praise others when you are pointing out praise-worthy behaviors to them. Finally, be sure to give your child plenty of opportunities to praise others in your everyday interactions.

Free printable cheat sheet with tips for teaching kids how to praise others from And Next Comes L

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