Words of Encouragement to Say to Your Child
When you’d like to give kudos to your child for something she’s accomplished, you might excitedly say, “Good job!” or “I’m so proud of you!” as a way to show your love and support.
But if your goal is to boost your child’s self-esteem, experts say it’s more beneficial to use words of encouragement such as, “You came up with a very creative solution!” or “You really stuck with that! Your hard work paid off!”
Why encouragement instead of praise? According to child development experts, children who come to rely on praise take fewer risks; they are unwilling to lose their praise-worthy status. They tend to avoid anything they won’t get “right,” which means that they often miss out on making mistakes, trial and error, and risk-taking, which are critical elements of the learning process.
On the other hand, children who receive encouragement or genuine praise are more resilient. They believe they can change their circumstances through determination or learning. What’s more, they aren’t as flustered by adversity.
Encouragement can be motivating and inspiring – it can help a child meet important goals – instead of self-defining and limiting.
Here are some ways to to incorporate words of encouragement into everyday conversations with your child:
Positive Parenting: Words of Encouragement to Say to Your Child
- Instead of: “I am so proud of you!”
- Try:”You look proud of yourself! You really proved you can do it.”
- Instead of: “You are so beautiful.”
- Try:”I like the combination of patterns you chose to wear today.”
- Instead of: “You are wonderful!”
- Try:”That was very kind of you to clean up your toys without being reminded.”
For more tips on positive parenting, check out our most recent Family Matters webinar: Getting to Know Your Parenting Style.
What to Read Next:
- What is Your Parenting Style? Check out the four classic types of parenting and see where you fit in.
- “I feel like I’m a ‘no’ parent. What should I do when my patience is tested?” Parenting expert Claire Lerner of ZERO TO THREE answers your parenting questions.