As an adult, I have realized that there are certain words of encouragement from my childhood that come to mind from time to time. These phrases are said in the voices of my grandparents and my parents. Their influence has shaped who I am today as a professional woman, wife, and mom. I call them my pillars because they have held me up since I was a little girl.
As I look at my children, I desire for them to have a solid ground to stand on as they grow and develop. I want them to have similar phrases, statements, and words that come to mind regularly when they begin to feel discouraged, lonely, or even at the best of times in their lives. What our children hear over and over again will stick with them. Words have power and seep slowly down into our hearts and become beliefs.
Our children can either absorb words that tear them down or words that build a solid foundation for them to stand on for their entire lives. It can be overwhelming as we think about the character we are striving to develop in our children. But, intentionally speaking into their hearts will have a lasting influence.
Carefully selecting a few significant phrases, words, or thoughts to say regularly to your child does not have to be overwhelming or induce that “mom or dad guilt” that comes so easily. You can choose a few phrases that mean something to your family and choose a time each day or week to say them.
You could say them as part of your bedtime routine, over dinner, or simply on a drive in the car. Speaking words of encouragement to your child will become more natural over time if you choose to build it into your daily habits. You might even see your child reflect back to you these same words of encouragement.
You can choose to say the same phrase each night or mix it up a bit. Choose some that reflect your child’s character and others that reflect their accomplishments. You can say one of these phrases below and elaborate on what it means while making it age appropriate for your children.
Here is a list of some of my favorite words of encouragement for children:
- You are loved.
- You are irreplaceable.
- God gave you to our family.
- You are so generous.
- I love being your mom. I’m so lucky!
- I see you.
- Let’s have a lazy day together.
- My love is unconditional.
- You do not need to hide.
- Your feelings are important but they are not always true.
- I love our family!
- You are unique. There is only one of you.
- Let’s laugh together.
- Thank you for bringing peace to our family.
- You are important.
- I believe in you.
- You look nice.
- Don’t decide too quickly.
- Good try!
- I trust you.
- You are so joyful!
- You teach me new things all the time.
- Your ideas matter.
- You are respectful of others.
- You didn’t get it this time. That’s okay.
- You did it!
- You ask good questions.
- You learn from your mistakes.
- Grace for you.
- Good teamwork!
- You can try again. It is okay to make mistakes.
- I love your stories.
- You learn so quickly!
- I forgive you.
- I enjoy spending time with you.
- You are getting so good at that!
- Thank you for helping.
- It is okay to not understand sometimes.
- Let’s hold hands.
- Everyone makes mistakes.
- Your work is thorough.
- Let’s remember this for next time.
- You make my life more valuable.
- I like the way you think.
- You are so polite.
- Forgiveness is a decision.
- Stick up for others.
- That was so loving. Good job!
- You are so creative.
- Thanks for helping.
- I am happy to guide you.
- It is okay if they don’t like you.
- Good job sharing your feelings.
- Your choices have consequences. Good and bad.
- Thank you for listening.
- Start over.
- Me too!
- Like yourself. You are with you all day long.
- Some things aren’t worth it.
- Good job giving her a turn.
- You are very determined.
- I’m so glad that God gave you to me.
- You are improving.
- Don’t let their words have too much power.
- You should be proud of your hard work.
- You are so fun.
- Complete the job.
- Your actions affect others.
- Thank you for sacrificing.
- It is okay to have doubts.
- I will strive to keep you healthy and safe.
- You make our family awesome.
- I’m so proud of you.
- I love you so much.
- I’m here for you.
- I’m honest with you. You are honest with me.
- You are enough just the way you are.
- You are a good friend.
- Thank you for being gentle with your sibling.
- Watching you learn is so fun.
- Thank you for apologizing.
- I think about you.
- You finished!
- Do YOUR best.
- You gave it your best shot!
- Good job!
- Your words have an effect on others.
- I saw you being kind.
- You are so interesting.
- Forgive and be reconciled.
- Don’t do your life alone.
- Thank you for sharing.
- I love playing with you.
- Choose the truth.
- Don’t make fun of yourself. You belong to God.
- You are brave.
- Thanks for being such a good leader.
- Ask for help.
- You are worth it.
- Let’s dance together!
- I have faith in you.
- Thank you for taking responsibility.
- You light up the room.
- I care about your desires.
- I love your laugh.
- I appreciate your honesty.
- You made a really good decision.
- You can tell me your failures.
- Let’s be silly.
- We all have bad days from time to time. Let’s start over.
- You are strong.
- The truth doesn’t change.
- Let’s pray together.
- I saw you being self-controlled.
- You can get through this.
- You can apologize.
- You have great character.
- Thank you for helping.
- I saw you being patient. Thank you.
- I love your hugs!
- Keep trying!
- I pray for you often.
- You can tell me anything.
- Thank you for sharing your heart with me.
- Good job on not giving up!
- I knew you could do it!
- No item in our home is more important than you.
- You can fix it.
- Go for it!
- You are so thoughtful.
- I won’t judge you.
- You are a loyal friend.
- We have a good family.
- I make mistakes too.
- You are a good boy.
- You are a good girl.
- If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.
- Thank you for obeying quickly.
- I’ll let you decide.
- Our family is different because of you.
- We are best buddies!
- I made a mistake.
- Will you forgive me?
- You are a good brother/sister.
- Change can be fun.
- You are courageous.
- You are a good influence on your peers
- I see you working hard.
- That doesn’t come easily to you. Good job for persevering.
- I love you no matter what.
What do you hope for your family?
I desire for my children to know who they are to God, to their dad, and to me. I want them to have those same special phrases and voices that I’ve had from my grandparents and parents from my childhood. I want them to have integrity, to know they are valuable, that they are one of kind, and to make healthy choices.
So, now it is your turn.
Keep it simple. Choose around five of these phrases that you will persist in saying to your child this week. You can also create a few of your own.
Be intentional. Select a specific time that feels the most natural for you and for your child to say them. You may feel awkward if these types of phrases are new to your family but I am sure they can have an impact on your family culture. Even for your teenager!
Don’t just champion your children when they score, win, or overachieve. Speak into their character and integrity. Choose or create phrases that affect how they think about themselves and the choices they will make in the future.
Compared to anyone else, your words have the most weight in your child’s life. They can have a lasting effect on your children for many years to come. Use them wisely.
Here are a few phrases and scriptures that are impactful words of encouragement for your children.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” Theodore Roosevelt
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” Carol Burnett
“What God knows about us is more important than what others think.” Tim Tebow
“It always seems impossible until it is done.” Nelson Mandela
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt