Lisa asks: How do you encourage and praise your kids?

Inspired by a sweet idea, Lisa's trying something new to encourage Addy to use the potty...again

By Lisa van de Geyn
Lisa asks: How do you encourage and praise your kids?

Addy's sweet birthday card to me

First thing's first. Yesterday I celebrated my 32nd birthday. This was the card Addy made for me (with my mom's help). She leafed through magazines and flyers, picked pictures of things she thought I'd like, my mom cut them out and then Addy glued each picture on. She selected slippers, pjs, perfume and makeup. She's obviously a genius and an artist. 

Her lovely card (my very favourite present; a close second was what came in the little blue box I got from Peter and the girls) reminded me of something sweet and handwritten a friend of mine does for her preschooler. It's something my Jewish friends here might already know about (though I didn't) called "Mitzvah notes."

Taken from (a source I wouldn't actually use as a journalist, but the definition is pretty straightforward in terms of how she explained it), a Mitzvah note is "a way to instill a sense of accomplishment and pride in your child when they perform a Mitzvah." (A Mitzvah is essentially a good deed or doing something good or praise-worthy.) Parents are asked to send a Mitzvah note to preschool with their chid each day and the teacher reads them to the class. My friend writes things like, "M got this MItzvah note because he shared his toys with his friend yesterday during his play date," or "M got this Mitzvah note because he ate all his dinner." 

I think it's a super sweet idea. The most interesting part is that she sometimes writes the note the night before and uses it as an encouragement tool. So she'll write "M got this Mitzvah note because he slept in his bed all night," and she'll read it to him before bed and tell him he'll get it in the morning to take to school if he can do it. It might sound a bit bribe-ish, but I think it's brilliant.

Since I'm in need of a new way to get Addy to sit her tush on the potty and pee (remember that dollhouse I got that I said she could have when she did her jobby — as my bubby used to say — on the potty? It's still on the top shelf of her closet; she could care less), I'm going to start writing her little notes encouraging her to do it. In fact, maybe I'll make her a card and cut pictures out of the Lowes or Rona flyers of potties and try to get her interested. :)

I'm not opposed to bribery, but it's nice to try something new. How do you encourage and praise your kids? Has anyone tried the Mitzvah note (or your own version of one)?

This article was originally published on Nov 23, 2011

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