I still oftentimes catch myself saying “Good Job” to everything Aliyana and Magali does well-ish. Even when it’s a daily routine or an activity and it ends with something remotely good, I hear myself shouting good job across the hall. “Good Job, you put on your shoes! Good job, you put on your coat! Good job, you went to the washroom!” but in fact these are self necessity things children need to learn to do on their own and don’t require praising when they’re done correctly. I recently re-read this article that reinforced a few key takeaways as to why I need to find alternatives.
Praise is short term because our little children are always seeking for our approval and it’s simply easy for us! Praising doesn’t give us the opportunity to converse with them as to why or what made that work so well. It lacks context and dialogue and these children are such sponges at this age, I think it’s super important for them to understand this.
Good job doesn’t reassure children and can result in children constantly seeking for our approval. This is a bit extreme but it kind of put the entire article into perspective…..
“some of these kids will grow into adults who continue to need someone else to pat them on the head and tell them whether what they did was OK. “-Alfie Kohn
Ultimately, I want to share all the moments of joy with them when celebration is required and for them to feel proud for the right reasons.
Here are some tips to change your language. Someone taught me, every time you catch yourself wanting to say good job lead with using the word “I” or You” to rephrase. “I see you’re great at peeling those apples”, “You are getting really good at reading”, “I’m so happy for you! You’re climbing so high”. Trust me, this isn’t easy and is quite a process… I still catch myself saying the GJ phrase WAY too often.
Here is a great article by Aubrey Hargis on breaking the habit! CLICK HERE