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Praise your child for their efforts to help them succeed

January15, 2021

Emphasizing hard work and progress — instead of results — is good for your child’s development. You can help your child gain self-confidence by providing simple words of encouragement to keep them motivated.


How to spot low self-esteem 

Children with poor self-esteem often lack motivation and exhibit other tell-tale signs, such as:

  • Difficulty making friends
  • Sullen mood
  • Built-up frustration
  • A constant feeling of discouragement
  • Gives up easily on tasks

Why it’s important to encourage effort

When kids are congratulated for working hard and making progress, they develop a more positive self-image. In other words, their sense of self-worth improves. Children who believe they have what it takes to succeed are more likely to tackle tasks with determination and perseverance. In short, they are more:

  • Motivated
  • Positive
  • Self-reliant
  • Confident in their abilities
  • Patient when faced with challenging or frustrating situations
  • Able to problem-solve

How to highlight your child’s efforts
Studies have shown that, when confronted with an obstacle, children who are confident in their abilities are more likely to roll up their sleeves and push forward. Since perseverance is directly related to self-esteem, parents are advised to emphasize their child’s efforts rather than their results. Here are a few ways to give your child a confidence boost.

1. Say you’re proud of their hard work

Even if you’re slightly disappointed by their results, you should acknowledge your child’s efforts in clear terms. For example, you can say:

  • “I’m proud of you because you finished all your assigned reading.”  
  • “I’m so proud of you for handing in all your assignments on time.”   

2. Remind them how far they’ve come

Children who have trouble at school often end up feeling like there’s no point in working hard. Help them see the positive side by focusing on their progress. Useful comments include:

  • “Good job! You got 2 more answers right than on the last test!”  
  • “I remember when you couldn’t sit still for 2 minutes. Now you’re able to stay focused for 5. That’s awesome!”  

3. More helpful tips
More generally, here are some ways you can highlight your child’s efforts:

  • Listing things they’ve done that you’re especially proud of
  • Refraining from comparing them to others
  • Leaving encouraging notes in their lunchbox
  • Using non-verbal language (applause, thumbs up, etc.)



About Alloprof Parents
Alloprof Parents was created to provide parents with support at every stage of their children’s education. The organization’s website includes articles, blog posts, videos and printable materials on a wide range of topics, such as homework help, academic difficulties, healthy lifestyle habits and educational activities.  
Alloprof Parents also operates a phone line so that parents can talk to professionals, including special education teachers, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday. Their team can also answer questions by email or private chat on the Alloprof Parents Facebook page during the same evening hours. 
Parents who want to receive age-appropriate tips on how to help their kids can subscribe to the Alloprof Parents newsletter or follow their Facebook page.

Written by: The Alloprof Parents Team