Friday, May 27, 2011

52 Tool Cards: Compliments

This weeks tool card is a warm and fuzzy one: compliments. 
Compliments and appreciations bring us closer together.

The key to an effective compliment or praise is that it be specific and focused on actions.

1. Instead of a general "Good job getting ready for school!" try
"I appreciate you quickly you got dressed and ready for school."
2. Instead of "You're a good friend," try
"I noticed how kindly you cared for Anna when she felt sad, I bet it helped her feel better."
Becky Bailey has a lot to say about noticing rather than praising in her book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline. 

Telling a child you noticed something they did can be more powerful than saying you liked it or appreciated it, especially when you follow it up with a virtue tag, as in the following examples:

  • I noticed you how you kept trying even though you were frustrated.  That showed persistence.
  • I noticed that you picked all your toys without me asking.  That showed responsibility.
  • I noticed you shared your toy with sister.  That was very generous.

Noticing this way reinforces the virtue behind the action, whereas saying you like something they did can inadvertently reinforce people-pleasing. 

Words have power.  What we say and how we say it matters. 

Verses to consider this week:
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

Ecclesiastes 10:12 Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.






  1. I've been thinking about how we're complimenting Jack recently. Besides what he's picked up from Bob the Builder (which is a LOT), he's been repeating back to us our praise. It's so sweet, whenever we do something well, he'll say "OOOOOHH, Wonderful!!!!" "Great Job, mommy!" It's so sweet, but I have in the back of my head that I have to get more specific with him. I do more so than Rick, because I learned this a long time ago with teaching. But I still need to be reminded often. :) I'm enjoying your 52 card reviews!!

  2. Thanks for the comment on my tool cards post. I too am looking forward to reading other's experiences with the tool cards. It's great that you are beginning while your first child is still so young. It really is amazing how much they pick up from before they are even verbal! I'll be eagerly following your tool card blogs as well!


There was an error in this gadget