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Encouraging Things to Say to Kids

“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water.” ~Rudolph Dreikurs

Here is a list of encouraging phrases to say to kids. Some of these examples fit many kinds of scenarios, and others are responses I’ve said to my kids about something specific that happened. I try to say these kinds of things daily, and, once I understood what makes a response encouraging (as opposed to praising, belittling, fixing, etc.), it’s actually not very difficult to fit them into conversation.

Every day my kids have opportunities to feel proud and to want me to encourage them even further. But rather than say, “Good job, that makes me so happy,” I try to find a way to focus it on their efforts. In short, encouraging statements keep the task/ action/ problem/ accomplishment about the child, not about the parent.

Every positive discipline tool is designed to encourage chidden, help them feel capable, and connect us closer to each other. All of these phrases acknowledge and appreciate something positive about a child and are encouraging words to hear:

  • I love you.
  • I’m sure you can find a way to solve this problem.
  • Boy, you worked so hard on that! It really shows.
  • I have faith in you to figure it out.
  • I know you don’t like doing this, and I thank you for doing it anyway. It really helps.
  • The amount of detail you added to this drawing makes it seem so life-like.
  • You must feel so proud of yourself right now!
  • Your eyes easily spotted the quickest way through that maze.
  • I noticed that you’ve been working hard at cutting your own food.
  • You did it!
  • Thank you for putting all of our towels in the laundry. It helps us get ready much faster.
  • Trust yourself.
  • It sounds like your body is trying to tell you something.
  • I noticed how long you stuck with that.
  • You have the right to feel angry.
  • I can tell that some special mom/ dad time would help you right now.
  • How do you feel about what you accomplished?
  • I appreciate your cooperation.
  • Thanks for helping.
  • What do you think?
  • What do you need to do to accomplished your goal?
  • I’m listening.
  • That was hard for you; thank you!
  • I can see you are really angry right now, and that’s OK.
  • What would you do about it?
  • I just want to sit and be close to you for a few minutes.
  • It’s OK to be sad.
  • I appreciate you setting the table so neatly.
  • Wow!
  • I know you are upset. I would be too.
  • You can try again tomorrow.
  • What is your understanding of what needs to happen?
  • Your piggy bank is getting really full; it must have taken you a long time to save all that.
  • You decide.
  • I have faith that we can find a respectful solution.
  • Look at what you’ve accomplished!
  • You are capable.
  • Thank you for getting dressed so quickly.
  • I noticed you gave your toy to that boy when he was sad. I bet it helped him feel better.
  • What is your plan for getting this done?
  • I’m sorry.
  • I love you.
  • You lead the way.