Archive for August 16, 2018

Praise process over product

My youngest son is three and hates to color. In fact, he gets so frustrated when I try and help him hold his crayon beyond the palmar grip that he’ll just storms off if I say anything. He’s the type of kid that the perfectionist and if he can’t do something right away the first time, it’s not worth doing.

Maybe you have a kiddo like this or maybe you’re child is so frustrated at being corrected all the time, that he knows if he tries and read one more time he’ll be corrected for the three hundred twenty five thousand, one hundred seventy-ninth time. But whose counting?

How are you, the teacher, the paraprofessional, the parent, who only want the best for this child, give him the confidence to keep persevering? And how do you correct him so he doesn’t learn the wrong way either without damaging the fragile ego?

It’s a mindset shift. Praise the process and not the product.

When my son wants to paint or use stickers, I’ll sneak in coloring at the same time. I’ll ask him, “What was your favorite part to make?” This line was given to me by his art teacher from Abrakadoodle. You can check them out here and I highly recommend them:

Other things I might say as he’s coloring (that can be used for any resistant writer):

-You really took your time with that _____ (letter, word, sentence, project)

-How did you come up with that idea? That’s so ______ (unique, creative, inspiring, etc…)

-You should be very proud of yourself for finishing that ____ (picture, essay, sentence).

-What are you thinking of creating next? (be wary of using this one as the first process might have been exhausting).

The idea is to look at the effort and the process that went into the final product and have the child be acknowledged for overcoming something that was difficult by themselves.

Likewise, with readers it’s the same thing. The concept that I’m using here is from Orton-Gillingham approach. Praise the student for the sound that he made correctly, given him an opportunity to independently fix his mistake, and then give him the information in a factual way and move on.

This looks like:

Child looks at the word CAT.

Child: C-U-T. Cut.

Adult: A does make the sound of /u/. What’s another sound that A makes?

Child: /A/

Adult: You’re right again. A can have three sounds. What’s the third sound A makes, like in the word apple?

Child: /a/

Adult: Using /a/ sound, try that word again.

Child: C-A-T. Cat.

Adult: Great job hearing the sound of /a/. Let’s keep going.

Notice that the adult acknowledged the child’s effort. Notice that the adult also gave more information and exposure to the English language. Lastly, notice that the adult only gave key words (or prompts) and gave the child the opportunity to figure out the sound for himself. These successes and opportunities to learn and internalize information go a long way to increasing your child’s confidence.

Check out this article from Understood.Org that goes into more depth about praising your child!


August 16, 2018 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

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