“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
You probably do a lot to encourage kids already, but here’s some additional insight on encouragement and children. Encouragement is really about celebrating individuals in a way that affects them positively, and that includes kids!
Whether you are in a club setting, or at home with your own kids, there’s certain ways that have been proven to be more effective at helping kids really hear the positive message behind adults’ encouragement.
Sometimes well-intentioned encouragement tactics get lost in translation for kids. For example, general phrases like “Good job” without any specifics attached to them can fall flat for kids because they might not understand. What they did a good job about? What about it was good?
The following are a list of some helpful ways to give encouragement to children.
Be specific, because this shows that you (the adult) noticed what happened. Think of yourself like a sportscaster describing a sports play. For example, “You know what I just saw? I saw you go over to Katie and sit by her when she was crying. She looked sad. You stayed with her until she stopped and even patted her shoulder. Then you got her a tissue!”
Focus on your child as an individual, not comparing them to anyone else. For example, even if they did do more cleaning up than their sibling, you can still avoid comparison and just say “Wow! You worked really hard to clean up!”
Point out how an action relates to a value you want your child to hold. For example, “When you did that, it seemed really kind, just like Jesus tells us to be!”
You are supporting children in so many ways by the encouragement you are providing to them! Keep on keeping on, as you build kids up in Christ!
An adapted version of this article is also included in our February Parent Pause newsletter — a handout full of discipleship resources you can share with parents of preschoolers. Click here to get your free copy today!