Emma and Harper are returning to school next week. As they enter 8th and 4th grades respectively, I recognize that they are at the age where they will need encouragement and praise. Encouraging your child to succeed in the things they do is one of the essential parts of being a parent. When they achieve something, recognizing their achievement helps to show your pride and admiration.
Some parents might struggle with the best way to acknowledge their children's successes. Is saying "well done" enough? Is making a grand gesture every time too much? What is a good balance so we don't fall short or overdo it?
Below are some ideas for celebrating your child's achievements that will make them feel adequately praised and rewarded.
Photo credit: Mary-Frances Main
1. Keep a Reward ChartNot all achievements are enormous, momentous occasions. If your child passes an important exam or wins a competition, you might want to have a big celebration. But for smaller, everyday achievements, you need an alternative to a large celebration. Reward charts work especially well for younger children as they are great for tracking small accomplishments. There are lots of things for which they could earn a little reward, like a sticker on a chart. Once they have a certain number of stickers, they can choose a small gift, a treat or a day out. Use reward charts for anything, from doing chores to going to bed without a fuss.
2. Go Out for a MealA family meal out is a fantastic way to celebrate something. You might already do it for birthdays, but why not do it for other special occasions too? Let your child choose where they want to go so that the focus is on them. An evening meal or lunch in a nice restaurant is great way of bonding. Celebrating an achievement is an excellent opportunity to let your child feel more grownup. You can also use this as an opportunity to teach them how to behave appropriately in a restaurant.
3. Plan a Special Day OutThere's often nothing better than a day out. You could choose to take the whole family or focus on one child. When you have multiple children, it's important to try to have some one-on-one time with all of them. Rewarding one of your kids with a day out with just the two of you will make them feel special. Try to keep it balanced, however, and let everyone else have some alone time with you too.
Sometimes a gift is the best way to celebrate something, whether it's a big event or just your child behaving well. There are lots of things that you can get them, from a new toy to clothes. Some older children, especially teens and preteens, like to receive something more adult. You can think about doing something like ordering a flower delivery to congratulate them on an achievement. If it's a really significant event, you could get them something special that will last a long time. For example, you could buy a quality piece of jewelry that they can keep for years to come.