As parents, we want our babies to grow up knowing they are loved no matter what. You likely praise your baby several times a day. When your baby smiles at you or finally touches that toy he’s been trying to reach, you tend to respond with enthusiasm. It’s your praise that builds his self-esteem, and makes him want to try and try again. This helps him begin to believe in himself.
Praise works best when it is meaningful and descriptive. Watch for the behaviours you want to see and offer praise for baby’s efforts and results. This gives your baby some guidance about what you saw and liked. If you say “You gave me the bottle, good job!” when your baby hands you a bottle instead of throwing it, your baby will come to know that giving is a good idea.
A few examples:
Baby takes tentative first steps: “You are walking by yourself! So big!”
Baby scribbles a crayon picture: “You are drawing. Many pretty colours! Nice!”
Baby hands Mom a toy: “Thank you! You are cleaning up!”
Baby smiles at Grandma: “Such a friendly boy! Grandma loves you!”
Just describe what you see and feel. Be genuine, don’t gush. Your baby will know exactly what it was that you liked.