How to Give Meaningful Compliments to Children, Teens, & Adults!

National Compliment Day January 24

Compliments are the simplest act of kindness. Compliments are free and can be very effective at showing praise and deepening a connection. Particularly for children, compliments can help boost their self-esteem and confidence.

Why Should You Compliment The Child/Children in Your Life

It is easy to notice when a child is misbehaving, those actions require more attention. But, noticing the good will pay off. Not only will you notice the good in them more, but it will also change how they see themselves and therefore encourage appropriate behaviour.

The more you compliment your child, the more they will believe what you say, and strive to be that way.

Benefits to complimenting a child:

  • Boosts their self-confidence
  • Encourages them to continue working hard
  • Promotes motivation
  • Gives them a sense of self-belief
  • Builds resilience
There are some tricks to giving praise that is truly meaningful.

  1. Be authentic – Make sure you link your compliment to something you genuinely feel.
  2. Why – Think about why you appreciate that quality and give the recipient the answer.
  3. Be specific and sincere – A small but honest compliment carries more weight than hyperbolic praise. For example, if a child is showing you their artwork, instead of saying “this is the best painting I have ever seen,” try saying “I love how you’ve added shadows here to really bring it to life. Creativity seems to come naturally to you, and I appreciate you showing me your artwork.”
  4. Focus on effort – Accomplishment is great celebrate but showing someone that you appreciate their effort is very important. Remember that effort is the one thing we can always control, we can’t always control outcomes. When complimenting children, saying, “you’re so smart” may not be as helpful as saying, “you really gave it your all for that assignment.”

We can sometimes think we need a big reason to celebrate someone in order to offer a sincere compliment. An award, promotion, or the purchase of a new home are all very visible achievements, but the reality is that the little things are what make up most of what we all do every day.

Other examples of simple but meaningful compliments:

  • Praising a parent, saying that they handled a grocery store toddler tantrum well.
  • Telling a stranger that their outfit choice brightened your day.
  • Thanking your organised friend for picking out the restaurant and that you appreciate their decision making because it can be overwhelming for you.
  • Telling a child/teen you appreciate that their project or artwork made you think about the subject in a different light.

Compliments to try with the children in your life!