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The Power of Motivation and Praise: Nurturing Children's Self-Esteem and Growth


In a world where appreciation and encouragement fuel our sense of purpose and belonging, extending the same support to our children is crucial. By effectively motivating and praising them, we acknowledge their efforts and boost their self-confidence. However, it is vital to employ motivation and praise in a genuine and non-manipulative manner, ensuring that children are motivated by their personal growth rather than external rewards. This principle becomes even more critical when working with children with autism or special educational needs (SEN), where individualised motivators and reinforcements are pivotal.

Child-Centred Approach: A Key to Effective Motivation

Adopting a child-centred and evidence-based approach is essential when supporting children with SEN. Recognising that each child is unique and their motivators can vary significantly, it is crucial to continually explore and understand their preferences. Regular assessments, ideally twice a year, will allow us to keep pace with their development and changes. By staying attuned to their evolving needs, we can create tailored motivators that align with their interests, maximising their engagement and growth.

Balancing Motivation and Behavioural Concerns

While motivation is powerful, it is essential to use it judiciously. Over-reliance on external motivators can lead to behavioural issues and boredom. By striking a balance between stimulation and independence, we encourage children to develop their innate drive. Building a growth mindset in children involves teaching them self-reflection and empowering them to identify their accomplishments and areas for improvement. Celebrating achievements catalyses setting new goals and embarking on a lifelong journey of learning and self-improvement.

The Significance of Stickers: A Time-Tested Motivational Tool

One popular and effective method of motivating children, particularly in educational settings, is using stickers. However, it is essential to understand the purpose behind giving stickers and ensure specificity in our praise. By precisely naming the child's accomplishment, we avoid generic phrases like "great job" or "well done," which lack clarity and fail to promote self-awareness. Instead, we can highlight socially valuable skills the child demonstrated, such as sharing resources, taking turns, or helping others. This approach informs their actions and nurtures their sense of accomplishment and self-awareness.

Enhancing Motivation and Praise Techniques:

  • Tailor Motivation: Understand each child's unique motivators through regular assessments, adjusting them to match their evolving interests and needs.

  • Foster Intrinsic Drive: Strike a balance between external motivators and promote independent motivation to cultivate a growth mindset in children.

  • Teach Self-Reflection: Encourage children to reflect on their achievements and identify areas for improvement, fostering a sense of continuous learning and personal development.

  • Specific Praise: Use precise language to name the child's accomplishment, highlighting socially valuable skills and promoting self-awareness.

  • Avoid Dependency: Emphasise the process and effort rather than solely focusing on the end result, reducing the risk of children becoming exclusively performance oriented.


Motivation and praise are invaluable tools for nurturing children's self-esteem, purpose, and growth. By adopting a child-centred approach and employing evidence-based strategies, we can effectively support children with autism and special educational needs. Through regular assessments, tailored motivators, and teaching self-reflection, we empower children to become self-aware, set goals, and celebrate their achievements. As parents, educators, and mentors, we have the power to shape their journey, ensuring they embrace a growth mindset and experience the joy of continuous learning and self-improvement.

If you are a Lego®-based Therapy Facilitator, or your child is motivated by it, you can use my stickers.

Introducing our Lego®-Themed Sticker Collection: Celebrate Achievements with Joy and Creativity!

Bring a burst of excitement and positivity to your home or classroom with our set of 10 different Lego®-themed stickers. Designed to celebrate children's achievements and promote a sense of teamwork, these stickers are perfect for rewarding hard work and fostering a supportive environment. With ten sheets and 15 stickers per sheet, you'll have 150 stickers to share and enjoy!

Each sticker features a unique design and carries an uplifting message to inspire and motivate young minds. Let's take a closer look at the delightful assortment included in this collection:

  • "Thank you for trying new things" - Encourages a growth mindset and recognises the value of exploration and curiosity.

  • "Well, Done. Great Work" - Commends exceptional efforts and acknowledges outstanding achievements.

  • "The Great Master of Kindness" - Celebrates acts of kindness and promotes empathy and compassion.

  • "Excellent Engineer" - Recognises budding engineering skills and showcases a talent for problem-solving.

  • "Excellent Builder" - Highlights the creativity and talent of skilled builders and architects.

  • "The Great Master of Sharing" - Encourages generosity and emphasises the importance of sharing and collaboration.

  • "Awesome turn-taking" - Applauds fair play and good sportsmanship, reinforcing the value of taking turns.

  • "The great master of Tidying up" - Celebrates organisation and tidiness, fostering a clean and harmonious environment.

  • "Excellent Supplier" - Recognises individuals who demonstrate responsibility and provide support to others.

  • "The Great Inspector" - Acknowledges keen observation skills and attention to detail.

These stickers can be used in various settings, whether it's at home or school.

Stick them onto notebooks or reward charts or use them during group activities. Let your children or students proudly display their achievements and feel motivated to reach new heights.

Make every success a moment of joy and inspiration with our Lego®-themed sticker collection. Order your set today and watch young minds flourish in a positive and encouraging atmosphere!

I wonder what you think about the motivations balance. What do you do differently, and what different reinforcements do you use?

Have a great time supporting your children!

Beata Bednarska

from Bea Inclusive


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