Why saying “good job” isn’t good enough

Change your compliment tune!

Stop the “Good job” Domino Effect!

Have you ever experienced meeting a friend or acquaintance on the street, them stopping and politely asking ” how are you?” and then continuing on to walk without waiting for a response?

Some things go in one ear and out another and I am positive that you did not either bother responding to that query in full.

Life is hectic and busy and many of us choose what we want to hear. Being that the “hi how are you?” question is usually posed out of politeness and not actual interest, most people do not respond appropriately and if they do they are likely not even heard.

So too, a comment such as good job, does not hold much merit. It usually goes in one ear and out the other without processing what the speaker meant. The words are unfortunately overused and therefore not fully appreciated.

When a child is told good job on work they have done, they too usually accept the praise and continue on. The words are not something that they will remember. They would not come home saying:” Mom, my teacher told me good job today.” However should you change your tune and comment otherwise it is highly likely the children would react differently.

Imagine you would tell a child:” David, this is magnificent, I love the way you blended the colors.” or ” Rachel, you are sitting so nicely…” A child would appreciate that comment more and it would mean more to them.


The words are coming from your heart not from your mouth! It is something that you processed and shared with them. Saying good job is something that as a parent or teacher is often at the tip of your tongue. Commenting on specifics show the children you are fully acknowledging  their behavior or work.

What else can you say beside for good job?

  • Be specific!

You like the way they are sitting, say so. You like the way they worked on their project, say so. Let them know what pleased you.

  • Notice the details.

Take a closer look at their work or behavior.

  • Give feedback.

Comment on the effort they put in to doing something right.

  • Ask.

Ask them how they accomplished a certain task. This will make them feel good, build self confidence and will also help with communication skills.

Use your words wisely. Do not cheapen them with the “hi, how are you” sing song or the “good job” sayings. Change your tune to change the way your child will accept and hear your compliments!


Quick and Easy Questions to ask a child

Are Questions Really Important?

Do you know that questions play an important role in your communication with your children and students?

Questions are important. They help you understand what the child is thinking and can help you gauge their understanding of a lesson or discussion. In addition, questioning helps you delve into your little ones mind and teach you many things you did not know about your child. It helps you learn many new things too about your child, such as their likes, dislikes fear and successes!

Questioning is also a form of communication and relationship building. That means it helps you form a stronger bond with the child. How is that done? By simply questioning a child you show you care and want to know more about them.

Enough with the introduction what type of questions am I talking about? And when can you ask questions.

Questions can be asked any place anytime and anywhere, just make sure not to overdo it and frustrate the child!

Great time to ask child friendly Questions:

  • lunch or dinner time
  • after reading a book
  • after teaching a lesson
  • during/ after a class trip/ vacation or activity
  • when children show you their art work
  • when children pose a question to you
questions to ask a child
Examples of great questions to ask a child:
  • What did you do yesterday?
  • How would you feel if the character in the book did….?
  • When would be a good time to copy the characters in the book,and why?
  • What do you think will happen to the character in the book if he does…?
  • Who was your favorite character in the book, why?
  • What was your favorite part of the trip, why?
  • What did you draw? ( don’t tell them, “oh I see you drew water and a house!”- ask!)
  • …”my favorite color is red, what is yours?”

You may notice a pattern with the questionings. Most of the questions begin with the w’s: who, what, where, when and why. The w questions along with how allow children to expand on your question without there being one correct answer. This allows children to think before responding and each of them can answer differently, yet still have a great response to the question posed!

This works great supper time, when my children are sitting around the table, I like to ask them what their favorite part of the day was and why. There are so many great questions to ask!

Once you get into the routine of asking questions, children will get used to responding. This is turn will build a stronger bond with them as you learn more about them and hear what they have to say.

Go ahead, ask away!