Research: the Five Praises Project

The Five Praises campaign is a project designed to encourage parents and caregivers to provide their children with loving care and attention. This campaign aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the young pre-school children by regularly praising them for their positive behaviour.

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Dr Carole Sutton, Dr Mark Scase and Dr Erica Kucharczyk.

Dr Carole Sutton
Research Fellow:
Dr Erica Kucharczyk
Principle Lecturer, Cognitive Psychologist:
Dr Mark Scase

According to research, it is evident that regular praise and attention shown by the guardian, not only encourages a bond between the parent and the child but also motivates them to carry on the action that gained them the appreciation. As young children often need attention, to them even negative attention is better than no attention at all. ‘Giving frequent praise can also avoid the need for children to act out inappropriately to get parental attention’. (Fatherhood, 2015). This campaign was born out of the research work carried out by Dr Carole Sutton,of the Unit for Parenting Studies at De Montfort University. Whilst working with individual families and children, she realised that children with major behavioural and emotional problems is a national concern and that these children needed some sort of support. The research conducted by Carole undoubtedly showed that giving positive feedback to the children when they are behaving well, made it more likely that they would continue those positive behaviours. Since there were so many children that needed their parents to attend to them, Carole believed that a campaign was necessary which would be an appropriate model for these families that required help.

Dr Sutton says: “There is international evidence that praising small children when they behave well, ignoring them when they are mildly naughty or attention-seeking as well as giving a short, sharp sanction (such as being sent out of the room for a few minutes) for really bad behaviour can usually bring great improvement within two or three months”.

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5 Praises Card

Thus, the campaign ‘Five Praises’ began along with a simple card, as a reminder for parents to praise their child and use the card to note down their appreciation. In order to take this campaign further and the researcher s are developing it from the simple card method to create an app. Working alongside Dr Mark Scase, a cognitive psychologist and Dr Erica Kucharczyk, a Research Fellow in Psychology, they aim to produce an app that can be run on a smartphone to help in the development of children.

Dr Kucharczyk believes an app will be able to reach people on a wider scale. She says that it will be a self-monitoring tool for parents and caregivers which will provide motivational support and reward points to the parents when the praising has been completed.

The researchers will also be Using the gamification theory. A technique that involves utilising the notion that make
s games addictive, and they intend to allow the parents to come back and collect more points and rewards, which in return will increase the positive behaviours towards their young children. This theory will also encourag5 Praisese parents to praise their children more and will allow them to gain rewards that are offered via the app, and most importantly, having the reward of the child behaving well and feeling psychologically well.

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