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Positive Parenting and Teaching: Helping Children To Feel Good About Themselves

I love seeing the smile of success on my children’s faces when they accomplish something big in their eyes or get the correct answer. It is a priceless perk which I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. Seriously,  when my students succeed I feel it too. I love seeing them beam with pride. I had the pleasure of this experience this afternoon.

As a positive incentive to insure good behavior in my classes I reward children with stamps done with non toxic ink. The stamps have pictures on them as well as words. The pictures are of things that children really like, a cat, dinosaur, frog, teddy bear, a school bus filled with a boy and girl and a rabbit and teddy bear are just a few of the pictures on the stamps.

The words are “Terrific”, “Great Job”, “Very Good”, “Parent Signature”, to name a few. Why would a kid want a stamp that says “Parent Signature” you ask. Since 90 percent of my students are under the age of 5 most of them haven’t started reading yet. They really don’t care about the words as much as they care about the pictures on the stamp. The “Parent Signature” one in particular happens to have a star on it. So the kids really love it because of the star.

I have found this technique to be a successful one. It rewards good behavior and at the same time discourages undesirable behavior. I say undesirable as opposed to “bad” behavior because often times children are just being children and just need guidance and correction. They need to have opportunities to get it right, when we give them these opportunities, this is how they learn.

Today, Noah was standing in line waiting for his stamp. Another benefit of this technique is that it teaches the students patience. As he was standing in line, he noticed a partial picture of one of the stamps on the ink pad, which is in a white case. He asked me if this was one of the stamps that I had. I turned it around and asked him to tell me if this was the case. I turned the stamp pad case right side up and placed it next to the stamps.

He looked from the pad to the stamps, when he finally matched the two I saw the most beautiful smile spreading across his face. He’d done it. He succeeded at finding out if the ink picture on Ms. D’TaRelle’s stamp pad was the same as one of the stamps in the collection. You are so smart! I said to him. His smile grew bigger, his eyes twinkled, he had a happy face from the inside out. He felt great about himself and it showed.

When he left and went back to class I wondered to myself what I would have done had he not got it correct. Normally I would have said try again. This time something different came up. The words”You’re learning!” came to mind. I loved it! Children get to feel good about themselves whether they get an answer right or not. They get to understand that learning  can be a positive experience. That part of learning is not getting it right all of the time and that’s okay.

When we as parents and teachers present mistakes and not getting the right answer as just feedback, not anything that’s good or bad, we help to preserve and build  our children’s esteem and confidence as well as emotional resilience. We help them to look at it as an opportunity to do it better and get it right. It is not a reflection of them personally, like a hair out of place or the needle on the gas tank, there is something we can do and continue on.

So try this the next time with your kids. Help your children to feel good about the learning experience and themselves. If this has been helpful to you please leave a comment and share this with you family and friends. Until next time, have an amazing day! :-) D’TaRelle

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