In order for feedback to be effective, it needs to be labelled. By this I mean, imagine your child's mind is like a filing cabinet. There are a number of folders in there. Each one is labelled with one of the values you want your child to espouse; family values. These might be: perseverance, being brave, kindness, honest, sharing, generous, sensible and so on. In order for children to understand what these are and live by these values, they need examples. So when you give feedback to them you need to tell them which folder it belongs in. With folders full of examples, it's easier for them to repeat that behaviour you want to see more of. So you'd say "You were brave today when you ....(give precise example such as, when you walked in and waved me goodbye). " or "I noticed that even though you looked a bit nervous you persevered." "That was kind of you to show Max where to go.".
Here is a list of tips for delivering feedback.
Feedback to children needs to be
1)Immediate – there’s no point in spending days thinking about it and then expecting them to remember what they did. Children have very short memories and will have forgotten what they did, what they did it and wonder why you’re talking about it days later.
2)Specific – you need to draw their attention to the specific thing they did or said and what exactly they need to do more of or less of because they won’t be able to read your mind. They need to know what you want from them.
3)Sincere – the feedback needs to reflect what you think and what you believe and be something they can see is of value to you. Use ‘I’ to show that it is what you think and don’t bring other people into it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Keep this between you and your child.
4)Short – avoid long sentences and lengthy explanations about why you feel like this it isn’t helpful. Use the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid.
5)What you do want – avoid the word ‘don’t’ tell them instead what you want them to do; either more of something or less of something.
6)Avoiding the word ‘but’ because your positive start will be forgotten once you use the word ‘but’. Replace it with the word ‘and’.
7)Accepting because you are not a mind reader so don’t presume to know what their intentions were. Instead give them the benefit of the doubt and look for their positive intention. For the most part, children want to please you but their map of the world is different to yours with other more pressing priorities such as playing!
8)Focused on the behaviour rather than being a personal attack on their identity.