15 Other Ways to Say “Good Job” and Why That Matters

Our children thrive off praise and positive reinforcement.  It is a secret weapon if there ever was one.  Did you know that there are “better” ways to praise? That’s not to say that “good job” won’t get you there, because it will, but there are certain things we can say to provide positive feedback that will get us even farther than “good job.”

For example, by commenting on effort, energy, and strength we are building in our children the ideas of perseverance and determination.  We are acknowledging the effort that it took for them to create ________, and that is a powerful lesson in itself.  This type of simple feedback is a stepping stone for the instilling the values of hard work, practice, persistence, and resilience.

Here is what I am talking about:

Child: Mommy, I painted a picture for you!

Parent: Wow!  It’s so pretty!  Thanks!

Nothing wrong with that, but we can do better.  Check out this example:

Child: Mommy, I painted a picture for you!

Parent: Wow!  Look at all the blue that you used!  You have been working on that for a long time.  Thank you for sharing it with me.

We connect on a deeper level with our children in the second example because we take the time to notice the hard work that went in to creating the masterpiece.  By acknowledging that, we are conveying to them the value in doing so which will hopefully encourage them to repeat that in future creations.

Here is one more example:

Child: I climbed to the top of the tower!

Parent: You make me so proud!

Again, nothing wrong with that, but watch what happens with a little tweaking of language.

Child: I climbed to the top of the tower!

Parent: You must feel so proud!

This makes a difference because in the second example we are placing the feeling of pride with the child.  Climbing to the top of the tower is not about us.  It’s about all the pieces that this little being had to integrate in order to accomplish the task.  Additionally, we don’t want our children doing this for us.  We want them to be motivated by the feelings of pride accomplishing hard tasks evokes in themselves.  Our pride will be a constant, but we don’t want that to get in the way of theirs.

Here are 15 ways to go deeper with praise.  Try them and see if you notice any change!

  1. You worked so hard!
  2. I see you used a lot of _______!
  3. You kept trying!
  4. I noticed you used your strong legs to help you!
  5. You did that so carefully!
  6. That must make you feel super!
  7. You really took your time!
  8. What great choices you made!
  9. You figured it out!
  10. What a great idea!
  11. You did that all by yourself!
  12. I noticed how carefully you put that together!
  13. You used a lot of patience to do that!
  14. You tried something different and it worked!
  15. You made it work!

Find the joy,