The book Common Sense Parenting describes a technique called “effective praise,” which is more powerful than merely saying “Good job” or “Fantastic.” It consists of three steps:
1. Showing your approval (e.g., Thanks for preparing this week’s lesson at home).
2. Describing the positive (e.g., I’m really glad that you took the time to fill in all the questions and look up each Bible text).
3. Giving a reason (e.g., Preparing in advance shows that you’re committed to these sessions and that my efforts to teach you are rewarded).
For really exceptional behavior, you may want to add a fourth step: reward. It doesn’t have to be a gift, even a special privilege will suffice.