Last week we discussed ways that when our kids are helping out, especially during the Yom Tov season, we want to make sure that we are encouraging them. Everyone works better when their hard work is appreciated. We spoke about how to avoid using pat phrases, like, “Nice work,”
“Good job,” and, “You are the best helper.”
Instead we want to use descriptive praise:
“I appreciate that you set the table. The knives, forks and spoons are out. The fans that you made out of the napkins, make the table have that yom tov feel.”
We can do more. In one of my parenting classes on positive reinforcement we discussed other ways that we can boost our child’s self-esteem. The Moms in the class decided to write their children a note. They would describe all the positive things the child had done that day to help them.
Here are two examples of the notes that were written to their school aged children:
I had a great day with you today. Thank you for unloading the silverware from the dishwasher and putting it in the drawer. I noticed that you cleaned up the videos that you had taken out after I asked you only once to put them away. While we were at the library you were very excited to sign up for the reading program. I had to finish checking all our books out. It was very hard for you to wait patiently while I did that, but you did wait patiently. You were very polite, saying please and thank you to the librarian when we finally did sign up for the reading program. I also noticed that when you teased your brother and I told you to that “teasing hurts” you stopped right away. I appreciate all that cooperative behavior.
I love being your Mommy,
Yesterday you acted in a very mature way. You looked for the library books that needed to be returned and put them in a neat pile in the kitchen. You said, “Mommy, get me my lunch!” I asked you to add a “please” to your request and you did it. That is very hard to do, to respond to a direct command. You showed respect to me and you should be very proud of yourself. You did not want to go to the store but you went anyway. You helped Lauren pick out a water bottle and you picked out ice cream you thought Daddy would like. Also, when I asked you to get off the computer, you did.
I really appreciate all the hard work you did in trying to behave and get along with your siblings.
I love you very much.
It would be great if we could spend a few minutes writing some notes to our kids letting them know how helpful they have been over Yom tov. If that is too hard, then at the Yom Tov table, you could publicly thank your kids for helping you out.
I just want to let you all know how much I appreciated everyone’s help this Erev Yom Tov. Potatoes and carrots were peeled, brownies were made, and laundry was folded and put away. That was a huge help. Most of the time, when I asked you to do something you did it, sometimes even right away. Thanks for working together with me so we could prepare for Yom Tov calmly.
Have a wonderful Yom Tov,
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.