Good is a word I rarely use, as it implies a value judgement i.e. you're good or bad. And really we want to see behaviour that is desirable not a 'good' child.
Psychologists have found that using value judgments such as 'good' and overusing praise, we are actually creating a long term lack of confidence in children.By overusing praise, children get a false sense of themselves and once they experience criticism, it is likely to wound so much more.
So really what our children need, is honesty.
When they're misbehaving it is better to say 'I don't like your behaviour' than 'You're being such a bad boy or girl' or "You're such a naughty child.'
By labelling them bad or naughty it can bite you on the bum as the child thinks OK I'll show them what bad or naughty really looks like and their behaviour escalates rapidly to prove a point!
I even avoid the Super nanny, 'naughty chair' or 'naughty corner' for this very reason.
But praise where it's deserved, is absolutely fine and encourages more desirable behaviour and will see it reproduced.
For example tidying up the toy box is hardly likely to happen by chance!
Start by helping them and showing them how to do it and once they start to put even one item in, PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. e.g. 'Well done Josh, what a fab job you've made of putting those toys away'.
The four important things are
- Connecting the praise to the activity - praising effort
- Using the child's name
- Giving praise with eye contact
- If it deserves it then a high five or clap of hands can add value to the activity
Give it a try and see the results for yourself.
We often expect to see 'good' behaviour. so we are less likely to acknowledge it, so give that praise a go, it may be the thing to turn behaviour completely around and watch those little chests puff outwards and smiles beaming.