Encouragement and Affirmations

Feedback that builds confidence and positively influences the way children view their abilities

Positive, authentic encouragement and affirmations help boost children’s confidence. Focusing on their effort and the process, not perfection, inspires children to feel safe, take risks, and try new things. Your actions and words can encourage healthy self-confidence.

Hallmarks of this Strategy

Acknowledge Effort

Recognize a child’s effort rather than their talents or intelligence and focus on the process, not the final product. Giving feedback such as, “You’re working hard to figure it out” rather than “You’re really smart!” encourages children to persist.

Be Meaningful

Look for opportunities to give meaningful feedback when you see a child attempting a task and persisting with it. Give specific praise and connect with families to find out how acknowledgment can be meaningful for their child.

Embrace Challenges and Mistakes

Model what to do when you face challenges and make mistakes. Help children see that trying something that feels difficult and making mistakes are normal parts of everyone’s lives and great opportunities for growth.


Growth Mindset: An Introduction

This quick introduction explains the importance of using encouragement and affirmations to foster a growth mindset.


Dr. Carol Dweck: The Effect of Praise on Mindsets

In this lesson, we learn from Dr. Carol Dweck’s research about growth vs. fixed mindsets.


Focus on Child Development: Growth Mindset

In this lesson, we explore how the feedback educators give affects children’s mindsets, confidence, and learning.

Giving Effective Feedback to Children

How we talk with children and give them feedback can affect them profoundly. Learn how to give feedback effectively with these resources.
NCPMI brief preview

Positive Descriptive Feedback

In this brief, the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) shares ways to provide specific, effective, and culturally responsive feedback. Explore how this helps children understand what behaviors and skills are being recognized and why they are being acknowledged.

red pencil erasing a mistake

It's Okay to Make Mistakes

Mistakes are opportunities for growth! Check out these strategies from NAEYC for supporting children and making the most out of mistakes.

teacher and child giving high five

Encouragement and Effective Praise

This podcast from the Center for Inclusive Childcare invites you to explore why using words that promote a sense of accomplishment and competence matter. This is the first of a two-part series.