A week without praise...
I challenged both myself and the caregivers in my classes to stop all forms of praise for this past week's classes.
However, the overwhelming response from most of the parents and caregivers was we are 100% on board.
While, everyone was excited to give it a go, there was some trepidation from some of the parents, including myself!!
I heard, more than once, "If I don't praise, what can I say? Is being quiet ok?"
When I talked to my husband about this challenge, he even said he predicted some long awkward periods of silence.
And he was right on one front... there were periods of silence...BUT...it wasn't awkward!
It felt peaceful... It felt more relaxing... And my favorite realization was, I heard the children's voices more than I probably ever have in the last 4 years of doing Wonder Studio classes.
For me... I felt like I was beginning to see a step by step list of alternatives to praise.
2. Say what I see the child doing. (Sportscasting)
3. Give the child ownership over the accomplishment. (Make it about him not about me.)
4. Offer encouragement instead of praise.
Saying, "I know you can do it."
"Keep trying, you'll get it."
Do you have grit?
What does it mean to be gritty?
One of my favorite articles: The Truth about Grit
"Grit isn’t simply about the willingness to work hard. Instead, it’s about setting a specific long-term goal and doing whatever it takes until the goal has been reached. It’s always much easier to give up, but people with grit can keep going."
I would venture to say that most of your kids are quite intelligent. Some even have high IQ's (yes, especially yours ;)
However, if they are not willing to risk failure, they will never succeed.
And, if Suzy is constantly told, "Good Job" "You're so smart"... study after study after study has taught us that Suzy will begin to only try those things which she knows she can do a "Good Job" at.
And...let's face it, it doesn't take a genius to write in cursive...or do algebra, or read aloud in front of your class.
It does take some grit.
And here's what some parents had to say about this challenge:
"I was surprised by how many times I wanted to "praise" Z. for nothing exceptional or special. Rather, was it my need for attention? Hmmm... Anyway, as the class progressed, I noticed Z. interacting more with his peers actually trying to have little conversations. (I wonder if other parents who were also not praising afforded our children a greater opportunity to focus on each other.)"
"I learned it was OKAY to sit back and watch. I don' have to feel guilty for silence. Sometimes I think we respond to everything our child does so they know (or so we know) that we are paying attention. But I ENJOYED sitting on the sideline to observe and got so much joy from doing that."
"Also, when they get me to show me, I tend to be quiet and watch and they are just excited that I am sitting/standing there watching and I don't really have to say anything. (that was a hard lesson to learn)!
I think praise is important to my boys, but spoken or expressed to them in a way that makes them feel good, rather than the emphasize on me being pleased by what they are doing."M. says,
"I thought it went against all that I knew about boosting self confidence. Plus I was always told to praise for everything whether it was good or great. But as the class went on, I realized that I didn't have to say everything was awesome! I could just nod or look at their work. Acknowledgment was just as good as saying it was wonderful.
I ended up wanting to acknowledge them but used questions to get involved instead of just saying, "awesome!""