Parents, take note! Don’t hold back on showering your little one with praises, as scientists have found that a regular ‘pat on the back’ can not only improve your child’s behaviour but also boost their wellbeing. “Praising a child is a simple act. Improved behaviour and wellbeing can result simply from ensuring that a child’s positive actions are rewarded with praise and parents are seen to be observing their good behaviour,” said Sue Westwood from De Montfort University in the UK. About 38 parents with children, aged between two and four years, were recruited to take part in the study over a four- week period, filling out a questionnaire to monitor behaviour and wellbeing and being given information on how to praise their child effectively.
Those parents who succeeded in offering their child five pieces of praise each day, alongside catching their child’s good behaviour, saw an improvement in the child’s wellbeing when compared to a control group. This in turn led to improved behaviour and reduced levels of hyperactivity and inattention.
“Following the five praises initiative led to improved behaviour as well as reduced levels of hyperactivity across just a four week period,” said Westwood. “This simple, cost effective intervention shows the importance of effective parental praise and, when used on a regular basis, it has been shown to have a significant impact,” she said.