How Language is Formed and How to Praise Your Child

We share how language is formed and how to praise your child.

There are actually more than a few things your baby has to learn to be able to speak and one of them is acquire language–which is different from speech. Did you know that?

Language is how we communicate with others using words, signs, or writing.  Language includes the types of words we use (nouns, verbs), how many words we use, how we put the words together to form thoughts and so on.

Speech is how we pronounce words and shows the language we have acquired.

Humans have language before they have speech, meaning that we can communicate with others before we can speak by using gestures, grunts and visual cues. You’ve all seen babies do this gesture to be picked up grunt to let a mom know they want something.

Our guest today is Kathi Timm is a pediatric nurse who works for Horizon Home Care and Hospice. She meets the health care needs of medically fragile children.  These young patients are often discharged from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and require full time nursing intervention in their home situation.
I met Kathi because she is a Sign Babies ASL Flash Cards customer.  Kathi has a very unique vision of language acquisition that can help us understand our babies.  She will be telling us how these children acquire language and how they use signing to help. It is really fascinating.

The Right Way to Praise (info thanks to BornLearning from the United Way)

As parents, we all like to sing our children’s praises. We want to help them believe in themselves, right? But to do this right, simply throwing out compliments doesn’t cut it. To get your child to recognize the importance of his efforts, praise must be authentic. It must help your child realize that his attempt and progress matter, even more than the end result

Hitting the Right Notes

Praise is good for children when it is specific, and focuses on an action or behavior. This type of encouragement–praise that recognizes your child’s ways and efforts–helps him to feel known and understood, a critical element for early learning. So how do you make praise productive? It’s all about what you say and do.

Music to the Ears

Use Lots of Description. Describe what your child has done, rather than evaluate it. Instead of saying, “You are very generous.” Say, “I see you shared your cookie with Lilly. That was very thoughtful. Look at how happy she looks.”

Keep Compliments Specific. This helps a child learn to feel good about his efforts, rather than the finished product. So instead of saying “Good job!” say, “You really worked hard to build that tower.”

Point Out the Positive. Try to comment on what your child has done right before you note the negative. “Wow! You got dressed all by yourself! Let’s just turn your sweater around so the tag is in the back.”

Celebrate Trying. Let your child know that you’ve noticed how hard he’s been working to learn a new skill.  “You turned and turned that piece until you got it to fit in the puzzle.”

Recognize Quiet Accomplishments. When your child rises to a challenge, let him know you noticed. “I know you were nervous about going to the dentist, but you stayed calm and didn’t complain. You must be proud of yourself.”
Singing praise that is helpful and substantive may take a bit more practice on your part. But remember, your efforts will pay off–you will find that your child will be proud of his accomplishments, more willing to take on responsibility, try new challenges, help others, and make music of his own.

For another great article, see Praise that Builds A Child’s Self Esteem.

3 Replies to “How Language is Formed and How to Praise Your Child”

  1. I just read your article Praise that Builds a Child’s Self-Esteem. This is very valuable information about using descriptive praise and I’m going to try to remember to put this into practice with my Granddaughter who is a toddler. Thank you!

  2. Thanks. My mom also said she learned a lot about how to praise her grandchildren from this show. We love to have grandparents read and listen. Tune in to the show as well. We’ve got lots of tips that we don’t post because we just don’t have time to post them and they are in the podcasts.

  3. Kathi Tim has provided straight forward, valuable information. I hope all parents and anyone that talks with children implements this. Talking with children instead of at them makes all the difference.

    great, excellent post.

Comments are closed.