Written by Kelly Bakshi
Who doesnít love an unsolicited pat on the back once in a while? It can make a personís day simply by noticing them. Praise makes us feel important, valued and confident. For a child, it can even drive their behavior. Teachers and parents know that recognition of good behavior begets more good behavior. Here is a creative way to praise your child or student.
The only thing better than recognition from a trusted adult, is recognition from more than one trusted adult. Take note of good behavior- literally! Send a note to another adult praising the child for the behavior that impressed you. Let the child know that you are so pleased that you just have to share your excitement with someone else.
TIP: If you are a teacher, use school letterhead stationary to make it look official. The presentation of the note will seem more impressive and will therefore make the child feel even more honored.
If you are a parent, you can use the Happy Note as a craft activity and invite your child to decorate the paper. Encourage them to create a border, use stickers or glitter or draw a picture on the back. They can also help decorate the envelope. Make sure you mention in the note that your child created the beautiful designs. An extra dash of praise never hurt anyone!
Your Partner in Praise
Let your chosen recipient know in advance that they may receive a note from you.
If you are a teacher you may want to tell parents about possible happy notes during open school night or on their initial parent/teacher conference. Let them know that if they receive a letter from school, they should not panic, and that it could actually be a note of praise!
Help your students earn happy notes by telling them in advance what you are looking for. They could earn one for receiving the highest grade on a test or project, or they may show big improvement or they may have demonstrated kindness in some way etc. If kids know what you want, they are more likely to perform to your standards.
If you are a parent, select a favorite aunt, uncle, grandparent or godparent to partner up with. Let them know that their opinion means a lot to your little one and additional praise from them could be inspiring.
Use the happy notes as a way to help your child improve on some behavior. Perhaps a note will be sent for doing their homework with out being asked, or showing kindness to a sibling or lending a helping hand to a parent etc. Again, if you let your child know your expectations, they are more likely to rise to the challenge.
Pile on the Praise
First your student/child will receive praise from you via the letter. Then, the recipient can get in on the fun too.
If you are a teacher suggest ways for the parent to praise their child. Perhaps they will read the letter to the family at the dinner table, ending in a round of applause. They may want to stick the note on the fridge or even offer special privileges such as a later bedtime or free pass on chores for a few days.
As a parent you may want to ask your letter recipient to call your child and express how happy they are as well. Maybe they would like to send your child a congratulatory email or carve out a day of fun together as a reward.
Good behavior is fun for the whole family when you choose to involve them in celebrating it!
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