In the world of parenting preschoolers, you can often find yourself bombarded with information on how to parent. As parents, you’re always on your child’s side when it comes to helping them feel their best. However, when it comes to uplifting your child, do you tend to turn to praise or encouragement? Maybe you weren’t even aware there was a difference between the two! In the hustle and bustle of Long Island preschooler parenting, we’re on your side. Today, we’re outlining five things that differ between praise and encouragement so you can decide which is best for your preschooler.
Rather than recognizing the process of your child getting to an end result and encouraging them along the way, praise instead focuses on the outcome of the process. Encouragement is guiding your child through the process. Encouraging means asking your preschooler questions and giving them guidance, if necessary, to help them reach the end result with confidence in themselves. Encouraging your preschooler will help them work through the experience as a whole rather than just focusing on the end result.
While it’s easy to think that praise elicits only good feelings, it can also lead to your child only seeing right versus wrong. They may notice that you give them praise at certain times, which gives them feelings of happiness. However, if praise isn’t given, they may feel negatively about themselves and as though they have failed. Encouragement in place of praise helps your child feel capable and positive about what they are doing all of the time.
As we’ll dive into further in the next point, praise can cause children to only do things for praise. This takes away the opportunity for your child to feel encouraged as they try something new and can begin to affect your relationship with them as their parent. Praise can lead to your child believing that they are only good enough when they get praise and that they have to earn praise to earn your affection. This isn’t to say that praise should be avoided at all times, as it is both natural and at times necessary to express how proud you are of your child. However, parents of preschoolers especially should recognize if they are focusing too much on praise rather than encouraging their child.
Children may become dependent on your reactions to the things they do when only receiving praise and never feel fully accomplished until they hear positive praise from their parents, teachers, or caregivers. In turn, this can lead to the loss of parts of their independence, as they begin to focus too much on how others will respond to the things they do. Praise can become more of a cause-and-effect relationship in your preschooler’s mind, but encouragement hits the parts in the middle that are missed with praise. This can also help your preschooler as they grow and explore so that they don’t become too dependent on the opinions of others.
Encouraging your preschooler’s growth is an essential part of their development. Encouragement gives you the chance to dive deeper into your child’s life. It allows you to ask them questions along the way to dig deeper and get to know the challenges your child may be facing. When your preschooler catches onto your encouragement, they too will feel supported and excited to learn more about themselves.
Encouragement can help your child build character traits such as perseverance, dedication, positivity, confidence, and self-sufficiency. It can allow your child to feel supported by you and those around them and cause them to focus on the steps they took to get to the end of a challenge rather than completing the steps just to get the praise.
At Habitots, we look forward to serving the families of Long Island preschoolers in all of their endeavors. How will you begin to balance praise and encouragement when it comes to parenting your preschooler?