Six Ways to Promote Positivity and Encouragement in the Hearts of Your Children
I was recently confessing to a friend how easy it is for me to find myself constantly bringing down my kids - whether in their character, studies, family relationships, cleanliness - without even realizing many of the wonderful things they did throughout the day. While equipping and correcting are necessary parts of parenting, so is encouragement and edification. I have seen time and time again that building my children UP is far more valuable and life changing than being a nagging voice and continual reminder of things they could do better.. But HOW???
Below we’ve listed out six ways to promote positivity and encouragement in the hearts of your children that we’ve found useful in our own homes, as well as three FREE SCRIPTURE PRINTABLES!
Jar full of Rocks- This is a fun way to encourage family team work as everyone is on the same team trying to fill the jar to the top. We praise and acknowledge good behavior, diligence, kindness, answering questions correctly for school, chores done early, etc. and allow the kids to drop a rock (or two!) in the jar as we notice these qualities. The immediate reward is exciting, but also the delay in knowing they are working towards a goal seems to help with more habits forming. Once the jar is full we do something out of the norm like a movie night, a day off of school, ice cream sundaes, extra xbox time on the weekend, etc. Nothing expensive and no presents - all intended for a family moment and celebration.
Gold Stars - this might be Amanda Tovey’s signature parenting moment. She offers imaginary gold stars for positive attributes she notices in her children; the children keep track of their stars in their heads and when they get to 100 they get a trip to $5 Below to pick something out. She wins at life. No charts, no stickers, no keeping up with who gets what.
Happy Heart Chart - This idea came to fruition when I felt like I was constantly reprimanding a certain 3/4 year old’s pouty attitude over every.single.decision. Getting dressed, eating a meal, brushing teeth, taking a nap; it was a non stop battle which led to constant correction which resulted in a lot of really long, extremely frustrating days - for both of us. I decided to make a chart and give a sticker for each activity he was able to do with a “happy heart.” If he could get ten stars in a day he got a very tiny treat after dinner. I would be lying if I said it was a quick fix, but it has undoubtedly turned our days around and given us all something to encourage instead of what feels like a constant stream of reprimands.
Speaking Life - I feel silly even writing this, but the reality is that I needed this reminder more than any chart or reward system. My words can either raise my kids up to who I know God created them to be - or they can become weapons of the accuser. And when put like that, man do I want to choose the former. It is no wonder James devoted an entire chapter to the power of the tongue and Proverbs is full of wisdom regarding our speech; meditating on His word, knowing what He says about me AND my children, and spending time with Him will have a direct effect of what spews out of my mouth.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:34
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,” Proverbs 10:11
I noticed a significant different in one of my son’s behavior when I started speaking out loud the great things I was noticing in him. This made all the difference when it was time to correct other areas.
5. Just Say Thank You - We often tell our children to treat others the way we want to be treated. This means we must treat them with respect! We will reap what we sow. If we are sowing seeds of frustration, irritability, sharpness in our voice, we will likely reap the same. But if our words are seasoned with grace, finishing up a request with the kind and respectful phrase, “Thank you!” - we are letting them know we see them and we appreciate them.
6. SMILE - Sarah MacKenzie once shared this at a Q&A, that she tries to make an intentional effort to smile at each child every day. Sounds slightly obvious, but I am sure any mom can confess that starting off the day on the wrong foot or with a vomiting toddler or waking up to a child rawring in your face like a T Rex can make it really really hard to smile. But smiling truly does have an affect on the attitude and emotional capacity… “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
In what ways can YOU choose to make a difference in your child’s life today by being their biggest encourager?
Needing more encouragement to speak LIFE into the hearts of your children? Fill out the form below for three FREE Scripture Printables to hang up as regular reminders!