Write me: rebecca@positive-parents.org

Have you ever watched the show Brain Games? My kids love it. In season 3, episode 5, which is titled “Stress Test,” players were given a specific amount of time to complete a task while someone was saying critical remarks to them. They almost always failed. Then, they were given the same amount of time to complete the same task while someone said encouraging words to them. The results were dramatic. With a bit of encouragement, the players were able to complete the task much faster and easier. The bottom line? Encouragement matters.

As parents, we spend much of our time giving directives and correction while the good things our children do often get little to no attention beyond “good job.” I believe if we get more intentional and specific in the encouraging words we say, we can have a positive impact on our children; we’ll see not only better behavior, but higher self-confidence as well. I encourage you to make it a point to say more encouraging words per day than criticisms or correction. Then note the change in atmosphere and behavior. Here are 50 encouraging phrases to get you started.

1. That’s so creative!
2. You really stuck with it and got the job done.
3. That was really helpful of you. Thanks!
4. You make me proud.
5. You can do it!
6. I believe in you.
7. That took perseverance! Well done!
8. You gave it your best, and that’s what matters.
9. You are the light of my life.
10. You’re getting better at this!
11. I trust you.
12. Your hard work really paid off!
13. You are a joy to be with.
14. You are really kind.
15. You should be proud!
16. Look, you did it!
17. You handled that really well.
18. I like your determination.
19. I can tell you put a lot of effort into this.
20. Keep practicing, and you’ll get there!
31. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
32. Take your time. There’s no rush.
33. You did it all by yourself!
34. You remembered!
35. There’s still plenty of time to learn this.
36. You don’t have to face it alone.
37. You made a wise choice.
38. You’re a caring friend/brother/sister.
39. We are lucky to have you in our family.
40. You’ve come a long way!
41. I love the detail you put into this.
42. I love watching you play.
43. Look how happy you made your friend/brother/sister.
44. That’s a great attitude!
45. Way to stay positive!
46. You are a great listener.
47. Your feelings matter!
48. Your opinion is important to me.
49. You’ve got what it takes!
50. Nothing will ever change my love for you.

This post was originally published for Creative Child Magazine.