Parenting is one of the most challenging jobs around but also the most rewarding.
Our kids are more observant than we give them credit for, and they are extremely aware of what we say and how we say it.
Children internalize so much, and that means that it is our responsibility as parents to be aware of the words we use when talking with, and talking about, our kids.
Our role as parents is to help our children grow into the people they are meant to be, not the people we want them to be. That can be a challenging idea to deal with as we all want to raise good people, right?
But raising good kids means modeling that behavior. It means speaking words of love, kindness, and empathy into them. It means giving them the respect they deserve as their own people with their own thoughts and opinions. We should talk to our kids the way we would speak to another adult that we care about and respect.
Finding a balance between praise, respect, love, and guidance can be tricky. Our children have a way of triggering our own emotions, and we often speak from a place of anger rather than respect.
Here is a list of 20 words and phrases of encouragement that you can use to help you develop an open, loving relationship with your child.
Best Words of Encouragement for Kids:
1. You Are Loved, Always
Never underestimate the power of telling your child how much you love them.
Your love should never be conditional so make sure that your child knows that you love them no matter what. They will always test your boundaries but letting them know that you love them regardless of their behavior will help them feel safe and secure.
As our children get older, it is not our job to agree with their decisions, but they should feel secure enough in our love to talk to us about anything.
You might think that your child knows they are loved, but nothing can replace having you look them in the eye and tell them.
2. You Can Say No
Too often, children feel powerless in an adult world.
They are often too small to advocate for themselves and almost always have decisions made for them. Our job as parents is to let our kids know that their voice matters and that they can say no.
Giving them the freedom to have a say in decisions affecting them will help them feel more empowered to speak up for themselves.
This idea is particularly important when it comes to body autonomy. Letting your child know it is ok to say no to unwanted affection is vital. This means they can say no to friends, family, and even you.
3. Your Body, Your Choice
Your child should be able to say no, particularly when it comes to their own body.
How would you feel if someone told you what to wear, how to cut your hair, or who to hug? Probably not happy. You might even become angry and defensive.
Yet, we do this to our children all the time.
Letting our kids know that they have control over their bodies is vital in helping them set healthy boundaries. We should talk to them about decisions affecting their bodies and allow them to make choices for themselves.
How will they learn to trust themselves, discover their boundaries and learn to make good decisions if we never give them the freedom to do it?
4. You Are Capable
Too often, we stop our kids from doing things for themselves. Maybe it’s easier or quicker for us to do it. Or perhaps we want it done a certain way?
But our children are capable, and we need to tell them that and allow them to demonstrate it to themselves and us.
Letting them know that they can do hard things and work for something they want and achieve is a gift.
Telling them that they are capable means they will have the confidence to follow their dreams and passions and create the life they want for themselves.
5. You Are Learning
It’s easy to forget that our children are just that, children.
They are still learning, still growing, still finding their way. We need to remind ourselves, but more importantly, we need to tell them that they are still learning.
Our kids need to know that we accept their mistakes and their behavior and choices because they are still learning. They are still discovering who they are and how they fit into the world.
Learning should also be seen as a positive thing, something that they should always be doing.
6. You Deserve Respect
For generations, children have been seen as less important than adults. Their opinions are not accepted and certainly not expected.
For so long, children were supposed to be seen and not heard. But slowly, the narrative is changing, and parents are trying to be more respectful when raising their kids.
How can we expect our kids to be adults who give respect to others when they haven’t seen us being respectful adults? More importantly, how will they become adults who know their worth and ask for respect if we have never given it to them?
Telling your kids that they deserve respect is important because they will have the confidence to speak for themselves.
7. Choose Kindness
Kindness is missing in the world today, and we should be raising our kids to be better than we are.
We should be raising our kids to be the change, and so much of that starts with kindness. Helping our kids see the importance of kindness means they will be kind, caring, and empathetic adults.
Children today deal with bullying, societal pressure, and social media. We need to constantly remind them that kindness is critical when dealing with people and the world around them.
We should want our children to be the ones who stand up for others and say no to mistreatment. If they have kindness in mind, this should be the easy choice.
8. Your Ideas Matter
Too often, we dismiss the thoughts and ideas of our kids.
They have the most incredible imaginations. We should encourage their creativity and free-thinking, telling them that their ideas matter gives them the space and freedom to dream and think critically about the world around them.
By helping them turn their ideas into reality, we are showing them the beautiful possibilities of imagination. We are fostering an entrepreneurial spirit that they will need as adults.
By telling our kids that their ideas matter, we show that we respect them and value what they have to say.
9. You Will Make Mistakes
Can we normalize making mistakes?
Our kids are learning and growing, and making mistakes is a normal part of that journey. Letting them know that making mistakes is normal and even expected means they will accept them, learn from them and move on.
Kids shouldn’t be scared to try new things, and they certainly shouldn’t be embarrassed to make mistakes. By telling them that mistakes are a normal part of life, we can help our kids become adults who own their mistakes and strive for better.
10. Are You Proud of Yourself?
It’s one thing for us to be proud of our kids and tell them that we are proud of them. But for them to have a life they love, they need to be intrinsically motivated, which means being proud of themselves.
Our kids need to be more focused on how their actions make them feel rather than how they make us as parents feel. When they feel proud of their achievements, they will be more motivated to keep going.
Being proud of themselves brings a level of self-respect that will stand them in good stead for adult life.
11. You Are Enough
We live in a world where no one feels good enough. People are constantly competing to be the best, the prettiest, the richest, and the most successful.
We need to be telling our kids that they are enough as they are. We need to help our kids see that there is value in being yourself. Our children need to value authenticity and accept themselves with all their quirks.
Our children need to know that they are enough to confidently deal with the pressure they will inevitably come up against.
12. You Are Unique
Telling our children that they are unique is critical for how they see themselves.
The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same, and our kids need to know the importance of being different.
Forging your own path, having your own interests, and celebrating those things that set you apart should be something your child feels happy doing.
If we constantly tell our kids that they are unique, positive reinforcement will help them be more resilient as adults.
13. I Trust You
The trust might be one of the most valuable things we can give our kids.
It can be difficult for a parent to hand over that responsibility to them and have faith in their ability to make decisions. But we do them a disservice by not allowing them to try things for themselves.
When we tell our children that we trust them, we help them become more independent and allow them to trust their instincts.
Trust is so wrapped up in love and respect that giving our children our trust will make them feel secure, empowered, and responsible.
14. You Can Talk To Me About Anything
As parents, we should strive to have an open and honest relationship with our kids.
If they feel unconditional love and acceptance, they will feel safe enough to come to us with any problem. We might think that we show them love and respect, but telling them that they can talk to us about anything will reaffirm our commitment to being there unconditionally.
We need to offer a safe space for our kids—a space where they can share their hopes, dreams, fears, problems, and mistakes.
Our kids should be able to talk to us about anything without fear of judgment or criticism.
15. I Am Glad You Came To Me For Help
If we have a relationship with our kids built on love, trust, and respect, they will feel comfortable asking for help.
Asking for help is difficult, and helping our kids learn that asking for help is ok is a valuable skill.
Our kids won’t ask for help if they feel criticized or judged for their mistakes, so parents need to approach the situation with objectivity and love.
16. Thank you
This is a simple phrase but probably one of the most important things you can say to your kids.
Gratitude and appreciation are traits that will stand your child in good stead as an adult. The world needs more people who are grateful for what is around them and who appreciate others.
Saying thank you to your child could also improve their behavior. If they feel appreciated, they are more likely to think about how their behavior affects them.
17. I’m Listening
We live in a busy world, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves to be more intentional with our time.
Our kids are little for such a short time, and as they get older, they won’t want to tell us about all the small things. Giving them your undivided attention when they are talking will show them how much you love and respect them.
If you take the time to listen to all the little things, they will come to you for the big stuff.
18. It’s Ok To Have Big Feelings
Most adults have difficulty dealing with their emotions, so it is essential to let your kids know that their feelings are valid and normal.
Meeting our kids where they are at and accepting their feelings with empathy can be life-changing for them.
It can be so hard and triggering as parents to see them in an emotional storm, but telling them that those big feelings are ok means they can feel them, deal with them, and come out the other side.
19. When You Believe In Yourself, It Is Possible
Kids need a solid sense of self and a positive self-belief to venture into the world.
So much of adulthood success is determined by a person’s belief in themselves and their abilities. We need to tell our kids that anything is possible if they believe in themselves.
We love in a world that is very good at tearing people down, and we need to help our kids feel confident in who they are and what they want as they grow into adults.
20. I’m Grateful You Are In My Life
Having children changes you in a way that is difficult to describe.
Being a parent is harder than anyone tells you, and it stretches your capacity to love and forgive. But it is also an experience that most parents wouldn’t trade for anything.
The opportunity to raise a child is a gift and a privilege, and we should tell our children how grateful we are that they are in our lives.
And there you have it, 20 words of encouragement for kids
Our words have so much power to influence how our kids see themselves.
By speaking words of love, affirmation, and encouragement to them, they will begin to see themselves as we see them. Kids are bright lights of compassion, creativity, and joy, and we can nurture them by giving them the tools they need to tackle the world.
When life gets busy, we need to take the time to speak to our children so that they know that they are an important part of our life rather than another responsibility.
If we want our children to be the change we wish to see in the world, we need to tell them how.