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There are SO many benefits to making recognition and appreciation a priority at home, at work, and in the classroom. It creates a more positive environment, keeps people coming back, and serves as an amazing recruitment and publicity tool. It is one of my quick tips for Service Project Coordinators.
A couple of years ago I read the book, 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, and it transformed how I thought about appreciation. Pretty much it says that each person feels appreciated in different ways and the key for it to be effective is to find the way that “speaks” to them.
In the post below, I will give some tips of how I apply what I learned in the book to recognizing kids who show compassion and kindness to others.
New here? I also have the following blog posts to help you plan events that engage youth with less stress.
Appreciate through Words of Affirmation
When a child shows kindness and compassion to others you can appreciate him or her through words of affirmation. You could say, “You are awesome! That was a really great thing you did.” or “Wow, I saw how you helped the other student. That was amazing!” In addition to saying the words, write a card to the child. This is something he or she can hold on to.
Appreciate through Quality Time
A child that feels appreciation best through Quality Time loves that extra personal time you are able to give him or her. If it is your child at home, plan an afternoon doing something special that your child picks.
If this is a child at school, invite the student to have lunch with you or help with an activity on the playground. If you have silent reading time, ask the child to help with a special project or do something she enjoys. That little bit of attention attached to a “thank you” can encourage more positive behavior.
Appreciate through Tangible Gifts
A child that feels appreciated through Tangible Gifts is the whole reason we have Treasure Boxes in schools! If you want to recognize a child for their positive behavior you can have small toys or school supply items that the kid can pick from. This works at home AND in the classroom. It also works for all ages.
If you work with older kids then you can give out entries into a drawing for a larger gift – a gift card or school spirit item.
Appreciate through Acts of Service
For the child that feels appreciated through Acts of Service you can encourage their positive behavior by doing something small for him in return.
At school, this may include helping in do a task in the classroom, holding the door, allowing him to assist or have a special classroom job. At home, this could be listening to the requests she makes. Maybe she needs help downloading a new game on the computer or hanging up a poster. Listen to requests the child makes and you can serve the child in appreciation.
Appreciate through Physical Touch
This Language of Appreciation may be the hardest if you are showing appreciation to a child that is not your own or that you are comfortable with their family (niece, nephew, friend, etc.) But it is still a very valid and needed way. Mastering the side hug can be your best friend! But I tend to go with a high five, fist bump, or shoulder tap. Accompany the high five with a “Thank you! What you did was awesome!”