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Teach Students to Give Compliments for Better Friendships and Self-Esteem

Teaching Students To Give Compliments Is A Fantastic Classroom Management Tool. See How You Can Easily Incorporate Compliments Into Your Classroom.

In the hustle of life, it's easy to overlook the simple things we can do that have a positive impact on our wellbeing and relationships. One amazingly simple but effective thing everyone can do is give compliments.

Compliments are little nuggets of kindness that can make someone’s day. Giving praise isn’t difficult but can greatly improve the way people feel and interact. When students learn to give compliments, it can be a game-changer for relationships and classroom community.

If you’re a teacher looking to improve behavior and engagement, I encourage you to participate in World Compliments Day on March 1st. This is a great day to start a new, healthy habit in your classroom.


Why Are Compliments So Powerful in the Classroom?

Complimenting others effectively is a powerful social-emotional skill teachers can gift their students. When complimenting becomes an instinct, it can have a profound impact on the climate of the classroom. 

Here are a few fantastic reasons to incorporate compliment giving in your classroom.

1. Boost Self-Esteem and Confidence

Receiving a genuine compliment is one of the most effective ways to boost self-confidence and self-esteem.

A Japanese study showed that getting a compliment activates the same region of the brain, the striatum, as receiving money. This neurochemical response can enhance self-worth, encourage a more positive self-perception, and improve confidence. This highlights how important positive social feedback is for our wellbeing.

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To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We've been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message 'praise to encourage improvement'. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.

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2. Enhance Performance and Motivation

Compliments do more than just make us feel good. Receiving praise can significantly impact our performance and motivation. The same study found that people who were complimented on a task performed better on other tasks than those who were not praised. This makes positive reinforcement a powerful motivator for people to strive to improve.

3. Strengthen Social Connections

The act of giving compliments is a two-way street that benefits both the giver and the receiver. Genuine praise not only boosts mood and self-esteem, but also fosters more meaningful relationships. Compliments serve as a form of social glue, bridging gaps and deepening connections. They can increase trust and closeness in relationships.

4. A Great Classroom Management Strategy

Using compliments for students can have a significant impact on confidence, personal relationships, and learning environments. Positive reinforcement through compliments improves a student's belief in their ability, so they feel less vulnerable. Feeling more secure and in control reduces frustration so they're less likely to act out. Stronger relationships give students a sense of belonging which also adds to a calm and peaceful classroom.

5. Encourage a Ripple Effect of Kindness

Giving compliments can create a ripple effect that encourages a culture of kindness and giving in the classroom. When students feel appreciated, they're more likely to pay it forward by complimenting others. This cycle of kindness and recognition helps reduce conflict and promotes respect and appreciation.

6. Compliments Benefit Teachers Too

Teaching students to give compliments does more than brighten the classroom. Positive tributes also boost a teachers' personal wellbeing and job satisfaction. Walking into a classroom buzzing with positivity is uplifting and has a massive impact on stress and anxiety.

Feeling more positive at school flows over into personal lives too! By encouraging a positive culture of kindness and giving, these principles naturally creep into personal lives. As relationships and interactions with students improve, it's likely those with family and friends will too.

Disillusioned or burned-out teachers may even find their love for teaching reignites. Seeing how your efforts impact students' growth and happiness is a great reminder of why you love to teach. A renewed sense of purpose makes every day more satisfying and fulfilling, both in and outside the classroom.

How to Teach Students to Give Compliments

Being able to give a meaningful compliment is a skill that has all sorts of important benefits. As you have read, knowing how to give a heartfelt compliment can make a dramatic difference to students and the atmosphere in your classroom.   

In a world where kindness can sometimes seem in short supply, equipping kids with the ability to spread positivity is more important than ever. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding aspect of character education.

So, how can we teach our students the art of giving genuine compliments?

1. Start with the Why

Kids are naturally curious, so kick things off by discussing why compliments matter. Explain how encouraging words can make someone feel seen, appreciated, and uplifted. Share stories or examples of times when a compliment made a difference in your day. Ask your students to give examples of compliments they’ve received. Making it relatable helps students see the value in spreading kindness.

2. Model, Model, Model

Children learn by watching us. So, be a role model and provide tips for giving compliments. Praise a student's hard work or acknowledge a colleague in class. Share what you like about the school. Let students see compliments in action, write encouraging notes for students, and talk about why you give each compliment. This helps them understand the thinking behind it. 

3. Break It Down

Explaining what makes a great compliment can help turn a vague idea into a real skill. Teach that the best compliments are specific, genuine, and about someone's actions or qualities rather than appearance. For instance, instead of a general "You're nice," try "I really appreciate how you helped me clean up without me having to ask. It shows you're a kind and considerate friend."

4. Create a Compliment Culture

Make compliments part of your class culture. Use a compliment jar for students to deposit flattering notes. Start meetings with compliments. Create a compliment wall for positive messages. Making compliments a regular part of the day normalizes and encourages this behavior.

FREE Compliments Bookmarks to Color!

3 Free Compliments Bookmarks With 2 Colored And One Outline With Coloring Pencils.

5. Make Complimenting the Norm

Make time for students to practice complimenting in a structured way. Use pair-share activities, where students take turns complimenting each other using prompts. Or you can opt for group tasks. These should center around finding and saying words of encouragement to classmates.

6. Reflect and Connect

After compliment activities, take a moment to reflect. Ask students how giving or receiving a compliment made them feel. Discussing the emotional impact helps solidify the importance of kind words. Reflecting on feelings encourages students to continue the practice.

7. Encourage Authenticity

It’s important to stress the value of sincerity when students give compliments. Encourage them to find genuine reasons they appreciate someone rather than making something up. Authenticity makes compliments more meaningful and impactful.

8. Celebrate the Effort

Recognize and celebrate when you see students giving genuine compliments. Positive reinforcement not only makes them feel good about their kindness but also encourages them to keep it up.

9. Keep It Inclusive

Make sure every student receives compliments, so everyone feels valued. Encourage students to think of kind words for classmates they might not know as well. This can also help foster new connections between students who don't usually interact.

Compliments Coloring Pages With Letter Tracing For Elementary Students.

How to Encourage More Compliments in Your Classroom

We all have moments where we notice and appreciate things about others but often don’t share our feelings. One study showed it's because people often underestimate the impact a heartfelt compliment can have on the receiver. Another reason is people fear making themselves or others feel uncomfortable.

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Compliment-givers underestimated how good their compliments would make people feel. In other words, people who received the compliments felt happier, more pleased and flattered than the compliment-giver predicted.

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Teaching students to accept and show appreciation for compliments is just as important as teaching them how to give genuine ones.

Here’s how you can guide them through this process to make it easier and more natural for them to give and receive compliments in the future.

1. Express Gratitude

Start by teaching students the importance of simply saying "thank you" when they receive a compliment. Explain that acknowledging someone's kind words shows gratitude and respect for their opinion.

2. Acknowledge Effort

Encourage students to recognize the effort behind the compliment. For example, if a student is complimented on a project, they could say, "Thank you, I worked really hard on it." This not only shows appreciation but also reinforces their own positive behavior or achievement.

3. Smile and Make Eye Contact

A smile and eye contact can go a long way in showing sincerity when accepting a compliment. Teach students that this body language communicates confidence and appreciation. It helps make interactions more positive for all involved.

Clipart And Templates For A Bulletin Board For Kindness Day, Friendship Day Or Valentine's Day. Each Element On The Bulletin Board Represents An Intentional Act Of Kindness Students Have Planned And Executed.

4. Avoid Downplaying the Compliment

Students often instinctively reject or downplay compliments. This may be because they’re shy or unsure about how to respond. Encourage them to resist this impulse and accept the compliment graciously instead. It helps build their self-esteem and creates a positive experience for the giver.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Incorporate activities where students can practice accepting compliments. Role-playing exercises or compliment circles can be great ways to build confidence. The more they practice, the more natural it will become.

6. Reflect on the Feeling

Have students reflect on how it feels to receive a compliment. Discussing the emotional impact can help them understand why it’s important to acknowledge and show appreciation for compliments they receive. Knowing how good it can make someone feel makes students more likely to give compliments themselves.

7. The Cycle of Positivity

Teaching students to accept compliments graciously is also a great way to enhance social skills. When they feel confident in accepting compliments, they’re more likely to give them as well. This continuous loop of positivity and appreciation makes students more likely to spread kindness inside and outside the classroom.

Teaching students to give compliments is about more than just teaching them to say nice things. It’s about building empathy, relationships, and creating a warm, kind, and empathetic classroom community.

So, the next time you notice something commendable, don't hesitate to share a kind word. You might just make someone's day, or better yet, inspire a chain reaction of positivity.

A Whole Year of Engaging Kindness Activities

A Big Bundle Of Kindness Activities To Last The Whole Year. Includes Puzzles, Games, Bingo, Paper Fortune Teller, Kindness Coloring Pages, Posters, Kindness Quilt, Bulletin Boards, Kindness Craft, Kindness Cash For Classroom Management, Kindness Bookmarks And So Much More!

AUTHOR: Lisa Currie - Ripple Kindness Project
Lisa is passionate about contributing to a happier world by building emotional intelligence in kids through fun and engaging social-emotional learning resources. Her core value is kindness as she believes it to be the “mother” of all character traits. She started Ripple Kindness Project to spread kindness in schools and communities. She also founded an outreach program to support disadvantaged families.  

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