Taking the time to lend some words of encouragement for kids benefits everyone. It isn’t just helpful in building strong self esteem. If your children or students are prone to acting out or having a bad attitude, scolding them to stop is only half the job. It’s easy to negatively respond to negative behavior and expect them to change it overnight, but the other half of the job is reacting positively to positive behavior. In this guide, we’ll go over some strong words of encouragement for kids that you can start using today, to boost the self esteem of the young people in your life and help promote positivity and good behavior all around.
For some additional parenting tips, including how to deal with stress in children and teens who may be acting out, check out this course on parenting. You can also use this course on positive thinking techniques for more ideas on encouraging the people around you.
1. “Thanks for your help.”
Saying “please” and “thank you” are some of the very earliest manners a child should learn, and they’ll only do that if you exhibit the same manners yourself! If your child has just helped you do something, like put their toys away or retrieve something for you from another room, thank them for their help.
This is the most basic expression of appreciation, and affirms that what the child did was a good thing. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in promoting good manners in children, and encouraging them to keep up the positive behavior.
2. “I know you can do it.”
Stating your belief in someone’s ability is one of the most basic expressions of encouragement. If your child is up against a daunting task, such as a big test, a book report, or a school play, let them know how well you think they’ll do. Tell them that you know they’ll be able to accomplish what’s ahead, and that you know they’ll do it well.
It shouldn’t be a lie, though. You should be honest with your child and avoid empty words of encouragement, but this doesn’t mean putting your child down. In the end, you can let them know that if they try their best, it will be good enough for you.
Learn some handy motivational techniques with this course on boosting self-confidence.
3. “You did a great job.”
No matter how small the victory may seem to you, every child enjoys feeling successful when they’ve accomplished something. Validate that success by letting them know that they did a great job, and tell them how impressed you are. When these small victories go unnoticed, it discourages a child from being ambitious or seeking out success.
Young children don’t yet know the value that their future actions might have, and much of what they do is for personal validation. If you’re not there letting them know that they’re doing a good job at the things they try, then they will just stop trying.
4. “I know you tried your best.”
Failure is just as important a learning experience as success for young children, and anyone really. The difference is, when a child fails, they’re not yet accustomed to the implications of that failure. With context taken into account, you can encourage your child to not give up by letting them know that they tried their best.
The only problem with this is the possibility of removing accountability from a child’s actions. If they failed a book report because they didn’t try hard enough, and you’re raising your child in a household where academics are important, don’t tell them they tried their best. That is an excuse.
But if circumstances permit, letting your child know that it’s okay to fail sometimes is a great act of encouragement that can help them become a stronger person in the long run. Learn how to foster optimism in your children with this course.
5. “You’ve gotten much better at ___.”
Tying in both to the importance of success and failure in a kid’s life, letting your child know that they’ve improved at something that you’ve indeed noticed improvement in is a vital expression of encouragement. Whether they improved on their own or with help is irrelevant: if you see that anything from your kid’s manners to math skills have gotten better over time, note this positive change in a way that encourages them to keep it up. They’ll appreciate the validation, and they’ll feel even more confident in their skills.
6. “I can tell you really enjoy ___.”
Young children are still trying to find themselves, and will do so up to their teen years and even into adulthood. It helps, when a child is still young, to have their interests and passions encouraged rather than put down or just plain ignored.
If you notice your child chattering away about their science class or a book they’re reading in school, let them know that you’ve noticed how much they seem to enjoy the subject. Ask them more about it. Encourage them to explore the subject more, and spend some time exploring it with them if you can. They’ll appreciate the motivating words, and feel like their passions are valid.
7. “That was great teamwork.”
Promoting good practices in children by simply telling them to do something is usually not the best way. Rigid instructions tend to go over the heads of young kids. What kids always enjoy hearing are compliments, and if you notice that your child has done a good job with something you’ve been trying to get them to learn, such as good teamwork or any number of things, then let them know.
Visible approval of a behavior that you want to see goes so much farther than demands that the child act a certain way. Of course, getting them to listen to begin with can be an entirely different story!
If you want some tips on encouraging your children to pick up valuable skills for their future careers, check out this course on teaching entrepreneurship to children. You can start teaching them the basic principles they need to know today!
8. “That was very nice of you.”
Acts of random kindness and generosity should always be acknowledged and thus encouraged in young children, especially very young children, who can’t help but be self-centered most of the time. When children start to develop empathy for others, and go out of their way to do nice things, like give someone the rest of their dessert or let them play with their group of friends, you should let them know that what they did was nice, and that you approve. This will encourage the child to continue acting in this way, even if it’s a small sacrifice for them.
9. “Thank you for asking first.”
There are certain rules that are just hard to explain to children when the circumstances where they’d apply haven’t arisen yet. Asking for permission for certain things is one of them. You can tell your child to always ask you for things first, but what really makes them remember is when you thank them for actually doing so when they do. This is another example of reaffirming good behavior and encouraging your child to keep it up.
10. “I love you.”
Everyone wants to hear that they’re loved and appreciated! Your child should never have to do or say anything important, productive, or relevant to receive the words of encouragement “I love you.” This is something they should know and be told often!
For more, check out this guide on positive parenting for tips on encouraging and empowering your children.