The Power of Praise

Our partners at On Our Sleeves are experts on youth mental health, so we asked them what advice they have for adults who want to encourage young people for Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® on March 21st.

Whitney Raglin Bignall, PhD, Associate Clinical Director, The On Our Sleeves Movement For Children’s Mental Health and Pediatric Psychologist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital shared her insights about the power of praise and how we can make it a practice.

Whitney Raglin Bignall, PhD

Praise is one of the best techniques when working with kids!

It builds confidence, helps them to know what we like, and can reinforce the behaviors we want to see more. 

The key is “catching” the good stuff, so we can praise and acknowledge it. How do you do it?

1. Start noticing what they’re doing and saying it out loud.

  • “I love that you’re putting your puzzle away.”
  • “It was great to see you sharing your toys with your cousin.”
  • “Thanks for waiting patiently while I was talking with the neighbor.”

2. Be as specific as possible.

  • “Good job” is less meaningful than “I noticed you put your dinner dishes in the dishwasher. Thanks for doing that.”

3. Share praise regularly.

  • It takes about five positive comments to balance out one negative one, so make sure you’re sharing plenty of positive comments and observations.

It’s not a magic wand, but you might be surprised about how powerful praise is when you take the time to give your children some positive attention.

Need more ideas on building up your child’s happiness and mental health? Check out!

The On Our Sleeves Movement For Children's Mental Health

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® is March 21st!

Every year, millions of people write/tell a young person in their life why they matter and what makes them amazing. Camp Fire founded this holiday in 1997 to encourage and inspire young people nationwide. Learn more at

Your words are powerful. Encourage a young person. Make an impact.

March 11, 2024

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