Do you celebrate the simple things with your children?
A mother’s heart is a tender thing. It is difficult to watch our children struggle or face challenges with learning or with their behaviour. We may see their frustration as they try to complete homework, or make friends, or even just be happy. It can be so discouraging and we wonder what we can do to bring about changes in their lives so we all can experience happiness and success.
One thing we can do is celebrate the simple things, the little victories. We need to pay attention to what our children are doing. This may take some conscious effort and awareness of your child. Actively look for anything they do well or better than before. “Catch” them doing it. If they spell one word correctly, or remember to put away their clothes, or offer to help, recognize those things and point it out to them. Notice when you only have to ask them once to get ready to leave, or when they do their chores, or treat someone else with respect.
When you do notice those simple things, be specific in your praise. Rather than say, “You did a good job”, tell them exactly what they did well. “You remembered to bring your backpack home three days in a row!” Look for those things in every area of their life. Make it your mission to find something to celebrate every day, however hard that may be, or however insignificant it may seem.
I had an experience with one of my students that emphasized this idea of celebrating the simple things. It was challenging to help John focus and be motivated. I had to constantly bring him back to the task at hand. It was difficult for both of us – I needed him to focus on the techniques and he wanted to talk about movies and games constantly. One day I told him I noticed and appreciated how respectful and helpful he had been in offering to do some specific things for me. He kind of brushed it off as if it didn’t really matter to him. The next session he came in and offered to help me right away. As the days went on I continued to find small, specific things to praise him for. It was as if something triggered within him. He became more focused and motivated in working through the techniques. He was willing to wait to tell me about the movies or games.
As you celebrate the simple things, your children will begin to see those things for themselves. This will build confidence and competence which goes a long way in helping struggling learners to be successful and happy.
Learn to see the simple things they are doing right every day. As parents we do a lot of correcting so we may need to retrain ourselves to be focusing more on the positive than the negative. But that is the subject for another blog!