The wonderful thing about ‘next right steps’ parenting is that it gives us lots of chances to CELEBRATE with our child! And children desperately need more celebration! That’s because celebration is what makes us feel precious. It makes us feel like we matter to someone. This in turn gives us the capacity to try harder, take greater risks, cope better with set-backs and care deeper for those around us.
Our brains are naturally wired to take in criticism and assign a much higher-than-normal value to it. Experts suggest that we need about ten words of encouragement or celebration for every one criticism we receive if we want to ‘maintain’ our feelings of self-worth and emotional equilibrium.
Going out in the world can be full of lots of criticism – both direct and indirect. Everything from a less-than-stellar mark on an assignment to being jostled in the hall to feeling alone during lunch or recess can feel like a personal attack on a child. So back to school is a great time for us to use the List of Awesomeness we created yesterday to help us highlight and celebrate our child’s successes.
But how do we celebrate? How do we communicate our approval? Here are some simple ways to do just that!
- Create a secret ‘awesome’ handshake
- Give ‘high fives’ anytime anyone succeeds around the house – ‘high five’ when people get out of bed in the morning; ‘high five’ when they stumble into the kitchen; ‘high five’ for the left shoe on; ‘high five’ for the right shoe on … you start to get the picture! 🙂
- Say ‘awesome job’ or ‘way to go’ or ‘you did it’ or ‘you rock’ especially when someone has struggled to complete a task
- Praise attitude and effort over achievement or accomplishment – ‘you worked so hard at that’ or ‘I’m so proud of you for giving that your best’ or ‘super effort’
- Go around the table at dinner and have each person tell about a success – something they’re celebrating for themselves – today. This gives you a chance to model celebration as parents, and can help your child to internalize this positive mindset
- Create a Celebration Wall for your child by placing a bulletin board or magnetic board on a wall in their bedroom. Whether you print out pictures of the fish they caught or the dinner they made or keep a tally of the number of pages they’ve read this year or put up the program for a show they were in, a Celebration Wall helps to keep kids mindful of their successes when they have a lousy day
In fact, I’d really encourage you to try to see how much celebration you can add to your day, and then watch how your child responds!