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​​Children want and need the attention of their parents, and they will do anything to get it. Praise is the positive attention and approval children crave from parents. Unfortunately, we often tend to give children negative attention only when they are doing something we do not like and miss opportunities to give them positive attention (praise) when they do the things we want them to do.

For example, you might not comment on our child’s behavior when they are sitting calmly at the dinner table. But the second they start running around the room instead of eating, you are all over them for misbehaving.

This is not to say you shouldn't give your child negative consequences for running around when they are supposed to be sitting at the table. You should. But you also need to provide positive attention to your child when he or she is sitting and eating. In other words, you should always be looking for and acting on opportunities to praise your child for their positive behavior.

How the Praise-lets work.


The praise-lets are a great way to help remind us to find, and praise, those positive behaviors. In fact, research shows that if we change the focus and praise kids 4 times for every time we correct them, their behaviors and your relationship will get better! Which is why the praise-lets consist of one blue (correction) bracelet and four yellow (praise) bracelets. Each time you correct a behavior or catch them doing something that you have to correct, move the blue bracelet over to your other wrist. The four remaining yellow bracelets are your reminders to catch them being good four time within the next hour or so.

Of course, you can make a praise-let of your own with hair bands, rings, bracelets, rubber bands, etc. The important thing is that you are catching them being good 4x more than then you are correcting them.

Remember, if you are constantly focusing only on what the child is doing wrong, the negative environment can leave both parents and kids frustrated. By catching them being good and giving praise you can actually strengthen the relationship between you and your child because your child will start to recognize that you see the positive things they do, not the just the negatives.

Learn how you can get a Boys Town praise-let and support Boys Town’s mission to help build up the praise for our kids.

Educators and teachers, we have resources for you too! Learn how you can get lesson plans and resources to build up the praise in your classrooms.

Did you know, you can also use praise to help change behaviors.

Praise is a great tool all parents can use to help change problem behaviors. One way you can do this is to make a list of the negative behaviors you want your children to stop and then write down the positive – or "opposites" – of that behavior. So, if your child is hitting, the positive opposites of that behavior could include "being gentle," "keeping hands to self," or "staying calm."

Next, start giving more attention to the child's positive behaviors so your child starts associating that attention with doing something good. You can use verbal praise to do this; these statements might sound something like this: "Great job being gentle with your sister," or "Thank you for keeping your hands to yourself even when you are mad."

Using a specific praise statement to call attention to a positive behavior encourages your child to use that behavior more often in the future. Specific praise also teaches kids which particular behaviors are appropriate and good to use. Simply saying something general like "Good job" does not let your child know exactly what to do again next time. For example, praising your child who has a difficult time staying seated by saying, "I like how you are staying in your seat," lets your child know exactly what they did and that they can do it. And it provides recognition to your child for doing it, demonstrates that doing it will earn positive attention from you, and encourages them to keep doing it.