A mother noticed that her young son seemed to be really “down,” dragging his chin on the ground, so to speak. So she thought about how she could encourage him and came up with an idea. She got a little notebook and kept it on her desk in the kitchen. Each day she would write in it something positive that she had noticed about him—perhaps a chore he did without being asked, or how nicely he treated his little sister. Sometimes she wrote a thank-you note, occasionally even an apology for some way she had failed. She noticed that each morning when he ate his breakfast, he would reach for the notebook and read what she had written. It wasn’t long before his entire attitude began to change.
As a parent it’s so easy to focus on the things our kids do wrong instead of what they do right. Sometimes when a dad comes home at dinnertime, the first thing he notices is what chores the kids haven’t done—the skates that are still in the middle of the carport or the still-overflowing wastebasket. So, the first words out of his mouth are, “Why haven’t you done your job?” Granted, kids have to learn responsibility, but grilling them first thing when you come through the door can be pretty disheartening. They’ll get so they dread to see you coming home.
One mom uses a method she calls “Praise and Touch”—or PAT, for short. Each day she tries to thank or praise each of her children for something they have done well, giving them a hug or touch of some kind to show her love. “Praise and Touch”—not a bad combination for any of us!
The apostle Paul wrote, “We urge you…, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14): a good verse to remember when you’re working with kids: encourage, help, and be patient. For, grown-ups aren’t the only ones who get need encouragement—kids need encouragement too.
What method or tool have you found to encourage kids?