How to give constructive criticism to children

Constructive criticism aims to improve children’s behavior, not hurt them. Find out how best to do this in this article.


How do you get children to develop desired behaviors? What is the secret of learning? These are some of the questions that all parents ask themselves, but do they know how to give constructive criticism to children?

Although it sounds difficult, it is not. This is’strike a balance between being able to be explicit about the behavior we want them to develop and not restricting their style or damage their self-esteem. Let’s see how we can achieve this and help them.

What is constructive criticism and what are its benefits?

As indicated by his name, constructive criticism is that which serves as a kick to promote a behavior or change and motivates improvement. They are constructive because they focus on learning and not on hurting or devaluing the person. The opposite is destructive criticism, that which is loaded with negativity and aggressiveness. These are only meant to hurt the other person.

Among the main benefits of constructive criticism towards children are the following:

  • They boost self-esteem and challenge them to improve.
  • They give them self-confidence because, thanks to them, children understand that we believe in their ability to do better and that they are capable of achieving it.
  • In addition, they promote a close relationship with children. and enhance mutual interest and affection.
Aggressive scolding is not an optimal method for a child’s learning. It is better to mark mistakes well, then teach and help him to do it correctly.

Learn to give constructive criticism to children

The tone we use and the way we talk to the child are key to marking mistakes. Then, it will be necessary to explain to him what is the right way of doing things and, if necessary, to help him achieve it. Below, we share some recommendations for giving constructive criticism to children. Take note !

Demonstrate respect and assertiveness

This way, when you make an observation, you make sure the child can connect with what you say and not take it personally. If your comment sounds like aggression, the child will probably fight back. In this case, his brain will stop listening to you and start thinking about the strategy to “fight back”. You must also monitor your tone of voice and body language.

Do not make personal criticism.

When you give constructive criticism, the ideal is pointing out the behavior or task you want to change, not referring to the qualities of the person. So instead of telling your child “you are messy” you can talk to him like this: “I need you to collaborate more to tidy up your room”.

When we refer to something personal, we run two risks: that children take it badly because it looks like aggression or that they keep a label and believe that it is an attribute of their personality and not something they can change.

Make the observation positive

Our mind works best when it listens to positive messages and also learns the right direction, what to follow, like an instruction. So instead of saying ” don’t leave all the crumbs on the table,” ask your child what you want: please clean the table after breakfast”.

Point out something positive about their behavior or attitude

Highlighting good intentions or valuing effort are good options before highlighting the error to be corrected. For example, you can tell your child: “It’s good that you picked up the clothes on the floor. But next time, instead of leaving them on the bed, you should put them in the laundry basket.”

Serve as an example

Many children learn best when they are able to see the desired behavior, that is, the best way to do it. You can even go further and do it with them. This way you can guide them through the practice so that they can achieve it on their own another time.

Speak clearly and be concise

This means trying to be specific, not repeating what you want to emphasize over and over again. Also, it’s important that you talk to your kids and show them the benefits of doing it right, so they don’t just see it as a whim on your part.

Find a convenient time

Even if the review is positive, it should be find a time when the child does not feel exposed in front of others. In addition, a situation must be created that is conducive to discussing the subject and allowing everyone to express their emotions. So for this to work, communicating constructive criticism as “hallway conversation” is not a good idea.

Offer him help

Once you have told the child what you want from him, offer your cooperation and ask if he has any questions. If you allow this swap space, you may find that it cannot perform a certain task for some external or unrelated reason. For example, he hasn’t put the glasses in their place because the cupboard is far too high for him.

Offering help or collaborating with your child to complete the task will be an enriching experience for them that will contribute to their learning.

Learn to build, not destroy

Learning to teach is also an art to which parents must devote themselves. It is about putting into practice, observing, improving and correcting.

It is essential to find the most appropriate means to support the education of children. Indeed, it should be known that the foundations of socio-emotional development, self-esteem, relationship patterns and identity are laid in childhood.

Little ones who have been criticized or who have had an authoritarian or rigid upbringing are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression or have interpersonal difficulties. For this reason, it is important that we parents ask ourselves if we are making an observation that will help our children improve or if it is a criticism so that they do it the way we want. In this sense, we must also learn to let them be and to do things according to their own style.

Finally, nurturing from empathy and being with others as we would like them to be with us is the key to raising happier humans.

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