Critiquing Your Child’s Homework: What’s the Best Way?

Critiquing Your Child’s Homework: What’s the Best Way?

Suppose your daughter has just completed a story she has written and excitedly comes to share it with you. You begin reading and notice that there are some misspelled words. Your first instinctual reaction might be to point out those errors right away, however that is the WRONG thing to do.

There is a method that is being taught to managers, leaders, teachers and all professionals who have people directly reporting to them. This is called the PNP Method. It stands for Positive-Negative-Positive. This method states that when you are critiquing someone’s work you first praise them for something, then, if necessary, offer an area they need to work on, and finally, end by praising them again.

The theory behind this is that if a critique session ends with a negative, people tend to remember only that and begin to feel badly about themselves. This is in turn leaves them with little inspiration to improve their performance. However, the reverse is true for the PNP Method. People generally feel relaxed once they hear praise, feel open when they hear an area that could be improved and happy and motivated after they receive the final word of praise.

This technique works exactly the same way with children. When they finish their homework or show you a piece of work, be sure to follow this formula. State something positive about the piece of work such as, “Wow, you sure did this neatly!” Then offer, if necessary, an area for improvement such as, “Oops, I see this word and this word need spell checking” and finally, end with another word of praise such as “I’m really proud of your effort, Julie”.

If you follow this PNP Method of critiquing, your kids will want to bring you quality work more often and their overall effort on projects will be higher.


Authored by: Erin Kurt

Erin Kurt is The Working Moms Parenting Coach. Erin combines coaching with specific tools from her Stress-Free Parenting System to help working mothers discipline without yelling, spend quality time with their kids and finally achieve work/life balance, so they can be a stress-free, guilt-free Working Mom. For a FREE Video Series called "8 Secrets to Stress-Free Parenting" go to

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