This is a relatively “cost-effective” expression, which is actually the most easily picked up by children. Research has shown that younger children are the best at learning a new spoken language, as their brains are able to absorb much easier during the formative years (as compared to a young adult).
Words of Affirmation can be expressed in different forms. They can be used to express love and endearment, where you tell your child how much you treasure and love him/her. It can also be used as appraisal , to affirm them for their efforts or achievement. In the event that your child may have under-perform to expectations, it can serve as an encouragement. You can move the focus away from the outcome, and instead looking at appraising the process and effort. Such affirmation may also help open discussion of looking at future improvisation.
When a child misbehaves or commits an offence, can there still be words of affirmation? YES, but not towards the undesirable action. If a child does something wrong, but admits his/her mistake and takes ownership, then we can also affirm the courage and integrity. Hence, using this expression can also become a form of guidance for your child.
At the end of the day, your child will be copying words that you are saying, and forming his/her own understanding of context that these words he/she hear from you. Hence, the impact from your words of affirmation can help improve your child’s self-esteem, and also elevates his/her self-efficacy.