Cartoon of young woman with a backpack hiking up a path which is a photo. Her thought bubble shows a younger self hearing encouragement from her mom.

64 Positive Things to Say to Kids – Words of Encouragement

Just a few words of encouragement can make all the difference in a child's day. When kids feel discouraged, your verbal support can give them the push they need to keep going. And when they're facing tough obstacles, your words of encouragement can help them remember their inner strength and power.

Positive encouragement can help kids to see their own potential. By giving kids positive messages, we can help them feel loved, build their confidence, and give them the opportunity to tap into their fullest potential.

The Power of Daily Encouraging Words for Kids

Every day, young people face a barrage of challenges. They may be struggling with schoolwork, feeling left out by their peers, or coping with difficult family situations. In the midst of all these challenges, it's easy for kids to lose sight of their own worth and potential.

That's why it's so important for adults to take the time to encourage kids on a daily basis. Just a few words of encouragement can give a child the boost they need to keep going. It can remind them that they are valued and capable, no matter what they're facing.

What encouraging phrases do you say 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.

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

What words of encouragement will stay with your kids for the rest of their lives?

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.”

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 imitate.

You 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 Words of Encouragement for 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 beautiful
  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

Encouraging Children with Words

Research has shown that the kind of praise we give to our children can ultimately influence them and motivate them later in life. Therefore, when we utter these words of encouragement to our children, we want to focus on the effort rather than their talent.

Recognize their effort.

The best thing you can do is show them encouragement when they try their best. It doesn't matter if their abilities are top-notch or above others; they are looking for encouragement at that moment as they put their effort into the task at hand.

Choosing specific phrases to use can also help encourage them.

Don't generalize your words of encouragement too much. Be specific to what they are working to accomplish. If they are painting a picture, for example, focus on the different colors they have chosen rather than just saying good job.

Be sincere.

The praise you offer your children should also be sincere and honest. If the praise you are offering doesn't feel sincere, then they will likely not feel encouraged at all. The praise is ultimately discounted and can lead to a child to practice self-criticism.

Avoid controlling or conditional praise

When you use praise and encouragement to control your child, they think your approval and positivity depends solely on performance and great results. We will always make mistakes and have stumbles as part of learning and growth. If a child believes they'll be rejected if they make mistakes it leads to low self worth, perfectionist tendencies and a life-long feeling of ‘never enough'.

Avoid comparison.

You also want to avoid comparison praise because instead of motivating them to work harder, it can end up backfiring. When comparing your child to others and praising them by comparison, they become vulnerable to setbacks they may experience in the future. They learn to compare themselves to others and when they fail, instead of looking towards their own strengths and how to build on those, they look at how they're ‘worse' than someone else. This makes it easier to become frustrated and feel helpless while losing their motivation.

The Benefits of Encouragement

When we encourage our children with our positive words and affirmations, we are boosting their self-esteem, helping them learn to believe in themselves, assisting in developing their imagination and creativity, and also motivating them to continue to keep trying and keep learning.

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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References:

  • De Montfort University Leicester (2019, October 11). Research shows praising children five times a day has a positive impact. Retrieved from https://www.dmu.ac.uk.
  • National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2018). Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture That Supports Learning, Health, and Community Participation Working Paper No. 14. Retrieved from www.developingchild.harvard.edu.