What phrases do you say each day to your kids?  Which ones do you want them to remember?

In the years since my grandmother has been gone, I am still inspired to notice the good things in life when I remember the way she would pause at those good moments and say, “This, now this is good.” To this day I can hear my mother encouraging me when I try new things. Her voice of confidence from my childhood continues to give me confidence now.

And eighteen years after my dad died, I can still hear him, when I get too serious saying, “Lighten up, Lissy!”  In moments of complete self-doubt and embarrassment, I still bolster myself by thinking of him singing, “Oops, you made a mistake, and you’re beautiful to me.”

All of these words of encouragement from my parents and grandparents have stayed with me.

What do you say that will stay with your kids the rest of their lives?

Certainly words can become meaningless when they aren’t followed with action, but nonetheless, words  have great power. You can choose to add more positive ones to your days. Coming up with a few encouraging words for kids or positive phrases to say tips the scales towards the kindness you want your kids to imitateYou never know the words of encouragement from you that your kids will carry with them for years.

I am happy to offer a poster version of this list here.

64 Positive Things to Say to Kids

May this list inspire you to turn to your child and say something like:

  1. You are loved
  2. You make me smile
  3. I think about you when we’re apart.
  4. My world is better with you in it.
  5. I will do my best to keep you safe.
  6. Sometimes I will say no.
  7. I have faith in you.
  8. I know you can handle it.
  9. You are creative.
  10. Trust your instincts.
  11. Your ideas are worthwhile.
  12. You are capable.
  13. You are deserving.
  14. You are strong.
  15. You can say no.
  16. Your choices matter.
  17. You make a difference.
  18. Your words are powerful.
  19. Your actions are powerful.
  20. Your emotions may be powerful.
  21. And you can still choose your actions.
  22. You are more than your emotions.
  23. You are a good friend.
  24. You are kind.
  25. You don’t have to like what someone is saying in order to treat them with respect.
  26. Someone else’s poor behavior is not an excuse for your own.
  27. You are imperfect.
  28. So am I.
  29. You can change your mind.
  30. You can learn from your mistakes.
  31. You can ask for help.
  32. You are learning.
  33. You are growing.
  34. Growing is hard work.
  35. I believe you.
  36. I believe in you.
  37. You are valuable.
  38. You are interesting.
  39. You are beautiful.
  40. When you make a mistake you are still
  41. Your body is your own.
  42. You have say over your body.
  43. You are important.
  44. Your ideas matter.
  45. You are able to do work that matters.
  46. I see you working and learning every day.
  47. You make a difference in my life.
  48. I am curious what you think.
  49. How did you do that?
  50. Your ideas are interesting.
  51. You’ve made me think of things in a completely new way.
  52. I’m excited to see what you do.
  53. Thanks for helping me.
  54. Thank you for contributing to our family.
  55. I enjoy your company.
  56. It’s fun to do things with you.
  57. I’m glad you’re here.
  58. I’m happy to talk with you.
  59. I’m ready to listen.
  60. I’m listening.
  61. I’m proud of you.
  62. I’m grateful you’re in my life.
  63. You make me smile.
  64. I love you.

Sometimes the positive phrases might sound hokey, or when you say them over and over you might wonder if they’re losing power, but here’s how I think about that: I hope that repetition means that some of them stick.

Years from now, when my children face a difficult job interview, a challenging conversation with their spouse or a day that seems like all of the ends are unraveling, my hope is that they’ll remember hearing me encouraging them, and their internal voice will say, “I have faith in you. I’m sure you can handle it. You are loved.”

You can get a poster version of this list here.

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