In another life, I used to work out to fitness expert Denise Austin’s videos. I just loved her gentle personality. She was so encouraging, “You can do it! I’m so proud of you! You’re getting into fantastic shape! That’s great! Do the best you can! The more muscles you use, the calories you burn! Good! That’s the goal! Yes! Enjoy yourself! The joy is in the journey!”
She made me want to hug myself. Honestly, no sarcasm here, she made me want to work out more and more. And just listen to her voice, so gentle and soft.
When I do morning English time with my son, I remember Denise Austin and channel her. I become gentle, sweet mommy coaxing my son to keep going and not give up. I frequently say things like “I’m so proud of you! You are doing a really good job today! I knew you could do it!”
To be honest, morning English time is above and beyond what most kids do. I know it, and my son knows it. So he definitely deserves verbal rewards for hanging in there and doing his best.
I do NOT say “You are smart” during English time. I know there is controversy over this praise. Personally, I do use it, but more in the general “You are smart—like all humans are smart and amazing.” I don’t use it like this, “You wrote the word correctly! You are so smart!” Smart has nothing to do with it. Working diligently every morning is why he can write English and 99% of Japanese kids can’t. (Or whatever the percentage is.)
This is a nice article about praise. I like the “understated but sincere.” Kids know when you are BSing them.
YOU ARE THE BEST CHILD EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AND THE SMARTEST AND THE BEST LOOKING–WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING–DON’T EAT MY FACE!