Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Teach your child how to give compliments.

What you can do

Explain that giving compliments helps start conversations. It can build relationships and make other people feel good about themselves. Give your child compliments and ask her how they make her feel. When she compliments someone in the family, point out why the compliment worked and how it made that person feel.

Identify strategies that make a compliment effective, such as smiling and being sincere and specific. Use role-play to help your child practice giving and receiving compliments with different people. Because facial expressions and body language are an important part of giving a compliment, encourage your child to practice in front of a mirror.

What you can say

“Sofia, giving a compliment is a great way to start a conversation with someone. And since compliments can make a person feel good, it can improve your relationship with that person.”

“Let’s go over some strategies to make sure your compliment will be well received. First, think about what you’ll say before you say it. Then be sure to get the person’s attention before you start talking. Make eye contact and smile.”

“Be specific about what you’re complimenting. You could say, ‘You look really nice today.’ But it would better to say, ‘You look really nice today. I love all the sequins in your skirt.’”

“It’s also good to follow the compliment with a question: ‘You look really nice today. I love all the sequins in your skirt. Where did you buy it?’ Including a question can help you start a conversation.”

“Remember not to go overboard. An exaggerated compliment won’t feel sincere. Smile and be enthusiastic so the other person knows you really mean it. See if you can give at least one compliment every day.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues often need to be taught social skills very explicitly. Breaking down a compliment so your child understands all the different parts will help her get better at using this skill.

Compliments benefit both the giver and the receiver. Learning how to properly give compliments will make it easier for your child to break the ice with a classmate or tighten the bond with a friend. Practicing this skill at home will help your child master it.

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