Powerful ways to say “Good Job” to your child’s great efforts using simple phrases that can become common practice in your home and replace generic praise with specific praise and in turn raise your child’s self-esteem.
A Fine Parent says that parents and instructors could be sought after by younger praise junkies. “Daddy, do you enjoy my singing?” “Did you get a decent shot?” “Did you like my new dance move”?
When they’re older, though, their insatiable desire for acceptance might lead them to seek approval from their friends or their boyfriend/girlfriend, resulting in the sort of entitled, high-maintenance people that most of us don’t want to be around.
We say good job to our children often as parents to congratulate our kids’ accomplishments. Our wonderful kids are always showing us those beautiful creations and sometimes it’s hard to come up with things to say other than good job.
Keep in mind that overpraising is not a good thing and can actually cause negative behaviors. Blanket statements such as ‘good job” increases a child’s reliance on external validation. Saying good job or alternative positive phrases can really help your child with their self esteem.
Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting was one of the best books I read. on this subject matter It’s an eye-opening book about how parents routinely undermine their children’s potential for intrinsic motivation.
Why Saying “Good Job” Over and Over Again Is Ineffective
Parenting Coach Nichole Swarz at Imperfect Parenting says that While saying “good work” isn’t a negative thing, it may not help you achieve your objectives.
You might be thinking that I’m a crazy lady who wants parents to stop saying good job to their kids and that’s absolutely not the case. This is a list of alternative phrases that parents can use in place of good job. It does not mean that the phrase good job is a bad phrase to use.
Because good job is such a common phrase as parents we can overuse it very easily.
Here are some examples of how we can overuse the word good job.
- You did such a good job on today’s soccer practice.
- You did such a good job at eating your whole lunch.
- You did a really good job putting your shoes on by yourself.
- That was such a good job putting away all your toys.
- What a good job you did diving off that diving board on your own.
There’s nothing wrong with using good job in your good parenting but when we say good job so often it sort of loses its meaning when we utilize it as an automatic response instead of providing more detailed positive feedback.
Remember that refusing to do a good job doesn’t mean you’re dismissing your children’s achievements; it just means you’re articulating what makes them unique and worthy of celebration.
You’re expressing what makes these good-job-moments so “good.” You’re recognising their work, expressing your gratitude, and providing specific feedback but refraining from passing judgement.
Alternative Ways To Say Good Job To Kids
When praising our children for a job well done it’s always a really good idea to get specific.
By getting specific you’re actually telling your child that you’re paying attention to what they are saying or doing.
Make sure that you are slowing down in your parenting and taking a good look as to what is going on in your household and what your children are trying to show you.
I know it’s so hard to do with all the distractions these days such as our cell phones TV’s computers tablets laptops and every other child in our house that’s demanding our attention plus are never ending to-do list.
But even with all these things that are constantly nagging for your attention it’s a very good idea to slow down and take a look at what your child is showing you and then comment on the specific areas of that thing.
There are some examples of how you can get specific:
- I really like the tone of blue you used for the sky and the different tone of blue you used for the ocean in your drawing.
- Thank you so much for helping your little sister put on her shoes that’s a very nice thing for Big Brother to do.
- I am so thankful that you put your dishes in the dishwasher after dinner today it really helped me cut down on the cleaning time after dinner.
Let Them Know They Did A Great Job By Using “YOU”
Another way you can let your child know that they’ve done a good job on something is by using the word you.
This is a very simple and effective way to let your child know that they’ve got your attention.
Instead of saying great job on the monkey bars you can say I love how much effort you put into swinging on those monkey bars even though it was hard and it might have hurt your hands.
Instead of saying that’s a nice drawing good job. You can say I really love the way your flower has so many different colors you put so much work into this art project.
This is what parenting experts call dynamic praise.
50 Things To Say Instead Of Good Job
- You’re on the right track now!
- You’ve got it made.
- That’s right!
- That’s good.
- I’m very proud of you.
- You’re really working hard today.
- You are very good at that.
- That’s coming along nicely.
- Good work!
- I’m happy to see you working like that.
- That’s much, much better!
- Exactly right.
- I’m proud of the way you worked today.
- You’re doing that much better today.
- You’ve just about got it.
- That’s the best you’ve ever done.
- You’re doing a good job.
- That’s it!
- Now you’ve figured it out.
- That’s quite an improvement.
- I knew you could do it.
- Not bad.
- Keep working on it.
- You’re improving.
- Now you have it!
- You are learning fast.
- Good for you!
- Couldn’t have done it better myself.
- Aren’t you proud of yourself?
- One more time and you’ll have it.
- You really make my job fun.
- That’s the right way to do it.
- You’re getting better every day.
- You did it that time!
- That’s not half bad.
- Nice going.
- You haven’t missed a thing!
- That’s the way!
- Keep up the good work.
- Nothing can stop you now.
- That’s the way to do it.
- You’ve got your brain in gear today.
- That’s better.
- That was first class work.
- That’s the best ever.
- You’ve just about mastered it.
- That’s better than ever.
- Much better!
- You must have been practicing.
- You did that very well.
- Nice going.
- You’re really going to town.
- That’s how to handle that.
- Now that’s what I call a fine job.
- That’s great.
- Right on!
- You’re really improving.
- You’re doing beautifully!
- Good remembering.
- You’ve got that down pat.
- You certainly did well today.
- Keep it up!
- Congratulations. You got it right!
- You did a lot of work today.
- Well look at you go.
- That’s it.
- I like knowing you.
- I like that.
- Way to go!
- Now you have the hang of it.
- You’re doing fine!
- Good thinking.
- You are really learning a lot.
- Good going.
- I’ve never seen anyone do it better.
- Keep on trying.
- You outdid yourself today!
- Good for you!
- I think you’ve got it now.
- That’s a good (boy/girl).
- Good job, (person’s name).
- You figured that out fast.
- You remembered!
- That’s really nice.
- That kind of work makes me happy.
positive reinforcement In Parenting
In the operant conditioning theory of human behaviour, positive reinforcement is one of four forms of reinforcement (see our page on Positive Reinforcement in Psychology) and one of several parenting techniques. Its goal is to encourage a desirable action by rewarding it soon after it occurs, hence raising the possibility of repeat.
Positive reinforcement may be used to encourage desired positive actions, such as your kid brushing her teeth without fuss, or to reward and encourage your child to practise new abilities, such as tying his shoes or loading the dishwasher.
Fixed Mindset and Praise
Carol Dweck was captivated as a young researcher by how some youngsters handled difficulties and disappointments with flair while others shrank back. Dweck, who is now a psychologist at Stanford University, identified two core mindsets, or beliefs, about one’s own traits that shape how people approach challenges: “fixed mindset,” which holds that one’s abilities are set in stone and predetermined at birth, and “growth mindset,” which holds that one’s skills and qualities can be developed through effort and perseverance.
Her discoveries pushed the notions of fixed and development mindsets to the forefront for educators and parents, motivating teachers—and even businesses—all throughout the country to implement her ideas.
If you need a good resource to share with your kids, I have just the thing for you! Global Tinker’s Mini Meditations for Kids is a mindfulness podcast series that is designed to help children develop a growth mindset.
The meditations are short, lasting about five minutes, to keep children’s attention. They are also free and easy to access. The meditations provide functional tips, breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques to help children in different situations such as taking a test, making mistakes and dealing with general anxiety.
The series is an offshoot of the award-winning animated series, The Paper Girls Show, which aims to empower children to be resilient, confident and curious learners. The podcast is a great tool for parents, educators and caregivers to introduce children to mindfulness and help them develop a positive attitude towards making mistakes and growing from them.
Put Your Good Job Phrases Into Action
Have you ever kept track on how many times you say good job to your children on a daily basis.
It’s probably more than you realize.
Putting some of these phrases into action can help build your child’s self esteem and bring more confidence into their daily lives.
These kinds of phrases can also help motivate your child to do great things which is a powerful thing.
If you do end up using some of the phrases that I’ve listed above you should keep track of what your children how your children how your children react to some of these phrases. Did these phrases make your child happier did they seem more motivated let me know how that goes.
And if you’re suffering with a child who is not listening there is a free one hour webinar hosted by parenting coach Amy McGrady who is the writer of positive parenting solutions and I think every parent in the whole entire world needs to listen to this webinar and it’s completely free.