20 Phrases Your Child Wants To Hear

Your children deserve the best. As adults, we end up being harshest on the people we love, and it can take conscious effort to move away from that. Learn how to positively reinforce your child with these phrases.

By Aditi
14 Nov 2022

While the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ sounds great in a children’s rhyme, it doesn’t translate exactly like that in real life. Truth is, words have a lot of impact on our mood, personality, and self-esteem. Even healthy adults suffer when they’re not given positive affirmations and encouragement, so it’s natural that for kids, it’s that much more important.

Encouraging words and positive reinforcement can lead to creating a strong sense of self-worth in children and enable them to grow into healthy adults. But more often than not, as parents, we tend to forget to compliment children on their accomplishments and appreciate their nascent qualities. It can ruin the balance within your child when there is more correction than appreciation happening, and create self-doubt. You want them to be motivated and happy, and it can lead to you instinctively correcting them to behave a certain way. More often than not, constant correction can actually set a bad precedent and it can breed self-doubt and low confidence.

Knowing what to say to your child to encourage them, generates self-worth and pride is crucial for their happiness. Here are phrases that your child wants to hear:


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Phrases To Teach Your Child For Healthy Boundary Setting

Many social situations can arise that make a child feel uncomfortable. They must know how to firmly say no and exit any situation that makes them feel small. If your child is shy and hesitant to voice their needs, non-verbal cues like giving a thumbs down for no and vice-versa for yes need to be taught. No matter what age your child is, learning to set boundaries will help them understand their emotions and react to them in a way that feels right to them. Here are phrases that your child needs to hear and implement in their own lives:

  • “No, thank you.”
  • “I don’t like it when you shout/speak loudly.”
  • “I want to do _____ instead of _____.”
  • “Stop.”
  • “I need space.”


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Phrases That Cultivate Self-Confidence In Children

Confident children will never shy away from trying out new activities and showing their personality. It can help them own up to their mistakes, be responsible, and feel proud of their actions. As a parent, you must support their endeavours by recognising their efforts, telling them it’s okay when they fail, recognising their effort and asking them more about what makes them proud. Some phrases to use are:

  • “I know you are trying very hard.”
  • “You did a great job at _____ today.”
  • “Admitting to your mistake means you’re strong.”
  • “You are perfect being yourself.”
  • “That sounds amazing! Can you tell me more?”


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Phrases That Teach Children Gratitude

Gratitude is a concept that can be challenging for children to understand. One of the best ways to teach them to be thankful and appreciative is by doing it yourself. By telling them you’re grateful for their presence, actions and impact. Teaching them to be thankful and say “thank you” is the foundation of teaching gratitude. A 2003 study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that those who practise gratitude regularly are more optimistic and feel better about their lives. Some phrases you can use to prompt children to think about gratitude are:

  • “I believe in you.”
  • “Did you do something nice for someone today?”
  • “I am really proud of you.”
  • “Tell me about the best and worst part of your day today.”
  • “Was someone kind to you today?”


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Phrases That Make Children Feel Loved

As a parent, it’s obvious that you love your child, but that might not always come across. Criticism and constant correcting can also negatively impact your child into thinking they need to be a ‘certain’ type of way for you to love them. Showing your love through words can help change the way your child thinks about themselves. Some phrases to show your love are:

  • “I love you.”
  • “You always make me smile.”
  • “I feel so lucky to be your parent.”
  • “I’m always here for you.”
  • “You matter to me.”

Your child’s brain is like a sponge, it absorbs everything, and significantly affects how they grow up. Send the right message to your child with your words so they always feel loved, grateful and confident.


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