Children love to be told how proud you are of them and how much you love them. They love to hear specifically what they have done that has earned a compliment or moment of praise. Nothing beats hearing "I really like it when you.." or "wow! You picked all your toys without whining or complaining. I am so proud of you. Keep it up." And while that is always a top priority it my book, a little "love gossip" is a great way to well, share the love, so to speak.
What's "love gossip", you ask?
Here's how it works. While your child is within ear shot, talk to a stuffed animal or doll about your child. Maybe your son or daughter ate all their dinner or was kind to friend or sibling. Choose something and share it with that toy-paying careful attention to make sure your child can hear you. Be sure to be authentic and not too "over the top".
Example: (to "bun-bun" the stuffed bunny) What? I know, I saw that too. K was kind to her brother tonight. She shared her treats with him. She didn't have to. What was that? You want me to give her a hug for you and tell her how proud you are? Okay. (hugs). K, bun-bun is really proud of you and so am I.
This also works in 3rd person when talking to dad, grandma and grandpa, or another friend.
Example: Daddy, did you read K's report card today? Her teacher wrote that she is a very good listener. I agree, she IS a good listener. I am so proud of her.
Nothing boosts a child's self confidence more than a parent who believes in them. And to be clear, telling someone else about your child doesn't replace telling them yourself, that should always come first. "Love Gossip" is just a great way to add to it. :)
**I first read about this concept in Dr. Karp, MD's The Happiest Toddler on The Block Although he doesn't call it "love" gossip.
*photo by aussiegal