Have you ever played with building blocks?
Have you noticed how a block tower needs a strong base?
Imagine one of these blocks is a positive word. These blocks can be given to children to help them build a strong base for themselves. A good base for any structure, as well as a child's character, requires a good number of strong blocks.
The ratio of postive to negative words is about 4-1 meaning that a child needs to hear at least 4 positives to neutralize any negative words they hear. If we are building a base from blocks and start with 10 blocks, one negative words is like taking 4 blocks from their base. This structure will start to become wobbly and it will need 4 positive words just to put one of those blocks back, let alone continue to build their base.
If blocks are continually taken away, because the child is given negative feedback, the structure (self-esteem) will become unstable. It is important to build children up with encouragement, praise and positive words. Reinforcing positive behaviours is more helpful than highlighting the negative ones and reprimands could be offered as encouragements instead.
For example, if a child tries to get a glass of milk and spills it in the process they can be encouraged that they tried rather than reprimanded that they made a mess. Trying is practicing, and practicing will help them learn.
Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs? They were safe in the brick house because it was strong enough to withstand the wolf's puffs. The pigs were able to stand their ground because they had a strong base, one made of bricks. Our children deserve to be given the chance to stand up for themselves, to be strong and safe, with their brick house.
Positive feedback in a negative situation not only gives them the building blocks they need but can also show them it is okay to make mistakes, they can ask for help and there are ways to turn a bad situation around.
All these things can build up a child and allow them to be strong. These things can help them build a sturdy base for their future.
Get the conversation started about having a strong foundation with the story of The Three Little Pigs and the Not-So Bad Wolf. This is a re-imagining of the classic tale; a rhyming tale to promote compassion and understanding.
“Self-esteem is made up primarily of two things: feeling lovable and feeling capable."
A standing ovation is a wonderful feeling to experience and a great way to build self-esteem. Check out the blog post Everyone Deserves Applause to learn more about the benefits of applause.