Language is a key part of learning and repeated language can have great impact as we learn, not just academically but also important life skills and values. We build a culture in our homes with our words, either positive or negative, and can increase our influence with our children through language and modelling. Keeping it simple is more likely to stick so the focus here is on four simple words I believe every child needs to hear regularly.
We all need encouragement and our children need to hear those words expressed from the adults around them. When we give the reason for words of praise, it is likely to have a greater long term impact. Giving evidence emphasizes that their effort has been noticed and it will more likely be repeated. Adding the word “because” is an easy way to remember to do that.
So rather than “Well done” we can say “Well done because you kept trying.” The emphasis is on “kept trying” and these are the last words they hear.
“You’re awesome” is quite an empty phrase that can give an over inflated sense of self worth, but changed to “You’re awesome because I saw how you did your chores without being asked” is a very encouraging phrase.
“You’re such a good friend” becomes “You’re such a good friend because I noticed how you included the new person into your group.” This encouragement rewards positive actions.
“What a good sport you are” becomes “What a good sport you are because you handled losing the game really well and still congratulated the other team.” This emphasizes the positive behaviour that we want repeated.
So start using that powerful word “because”. You can even try it on your spouse or team mate or work colleague!
Next time we will explore another tiny but important word because the regular practise of key values through the words we use can help build healthy attitudes in our kids.
– Colleen Houghton
Kids COACH coordinator of Community Mentoring, Crossway Lifecare
Colleen has over 20 years’ experience working with children and a background in nursing and pastoral care. She is married with three adult children and three grandsons who are a source of great love, fun and lots of games!