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Focus on the Positives with Your Child

In the classroom, teachers offer feedback to students to help them know whether they’re hitting the mark. They measure student progress and give feedback as needed. When your child is learning from home, he or she may look to you for recognition of good work 

How you deliver feedback is important. Research shows the ideal balance is at least three positives for every one critical or negative comment. Delivering feedback in this way can help keep your child moving forward with confidence. 

What does it look like?

Highlighting the Positives

Here we look at how to focus on the positives with your child. Positive feedback will help your child move to the next stepFor a child, too much negative feedback can feel defeating. Point out the positive things your child is doing, as often as possible. This will help you keep that 3:1 positive to negative balance.

Step-by-step Guide

3 Tips for Focusing on the Positives with Your Child


Highlight the Positives Often

Point out what your child is doing well as much as possible. Highlighting the positives builds trust with your child and shows him/her you want them to succeed. It also helps ease the sting of negative or constructive feedback 

What does positive feedback sound like?  

You summarized that story very well; Thank you for following the procedure for ___; You provided excellent details in your character descriptionGreat job! A line that stood out to me that you wrote was___; I can see you put thought into your answers… 


Offer Constructive, Not Negative Feedback

Negative feedback can deflate or demotivate a child. Aim for using feedback that’s balanced and constructive instead. 

What does negative feedback sound like? 

You didn’t do it right; That’s wrong; If you had focused, you would have done better; No; You made a mistake 

What does balanced and constructive feedback sound like? 

You provided excellent details in your character description, and you followed the instructions for that part of the assignment. It sounds like you are close to making a prediction about the character, what clues can you use to help you?You’re on the right track. Have you thought about…?This is a great start. Don’t forget to… 


Be Specific

Offer feedback that is sincere and specific. Simply saying “good job” or “this needs more work” doesn’t help a child understand how to reach success. Give your child details—why it’s good or how theyre on the right track. If what they’re doing needs more work, guide them with specifics so your child understands how to move forward. In the example above, “Great job!” is immediately followed by pointing out a specific sentence the child wrote, “A line that stood out to me that you wrote was___.” 

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