Do you want your kids to be good problem solvers? Then you should watch how you praise them when they’re toddlers.
The LA Times is reporting on a new study done by researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University.
The researchers found that praising little ones for their effort -- rather than for being who they are -- helped them grow into problem-solving kids who think success is a result of hard work.
So instead of saying “You are such a smart girl,” a parent might say “You worked really hard!”
Psychology Professor Elizabeth Gunderson says the study suggests that improving the way parents praise their kids during the toddler years may help them develop the belief that challenging tasks provide opportunities to learn. These kids also come to believe they have the ability to make positive changes in their behavior.
The researchers videotaped 53 toddlers and their parents at their homes in the Chicago area. They found different kinds of praise on the tapes. Five years later, they followed up with the children to check their attitudes toward challenging tasks, overcoming setbacks, and improving.
They found that “Process praise,” or praising a child’s effort, increases persistence, because it teaches them that effort leads to success. Most of the praises were simple, such as “good job” or “good running!”
“Person praise,” such as, "You are such a kind boy," makes the person perform less well on challenging tasks because he believes the effort won't change his ability.
To learn more about the study, go to latimes.com and enter “toddlers and praise” in the search engine.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.