Labels for Good Behavior

In many of our workshops, we highlight the differences between using evaluative vs. descriptive praise. This includes the benefits of being descriptive. Being descriptive is describing a child’s behavior and giving it a label. You might say, “you handed a block, that was helpful.” or, “you waited while mommy was speaking, that was patient.”

In class last night, someone asked for a list of descriptors. I think these descriptors are any positive traits or ways you would hope to be able to describe your child. Here is a starter list, I am sure there are many other. Please comment and add more!

thoughtful, kind, nice, helpful, friendly, gracious, cooperative, honest, straightforward, compassionate, brave, courageous, humble, caring, gentle, considerate, loving, enthusiastic, patient, generous, polite, useful, punctual, creative, witty, funny, fun, entertaining, sharp, quick, hard working (a hard worker), smart, persistent, neat, practical, clear, organized, careful, attentive, focused, diligent, thorough, detailed, flexible, perceptive, a good listener, good sister, good friend, good sharer, good turn-taker, good listener, good rememberer

Depending on their age, children may not know what all these terms mean, but the more you use them in context, the more you are teaching them the words.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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