10 powerful phrases for praising your child

Every child possesses a unique set of talents, abilities, and potential waiting to be nurtured. As parents, we want to provide our kids with a loving and supportive environment that gives them space to shine. One of the most powerful tools in our parenting arsenal is the gift of praise. Acknowledging and celebrating our children’s achievements, big or small, can have a profound impact on their self-esteem, motivation, and overall development. But not all praises are equal. Some words carry more weight and impact, while others might inadvertently encourage the wrong focus or behaviors.

Many development experts point towards praising kids for the process and not always the outcome. Why? Because this helps your children understand that HOW they do things is just as important (or even more important) than WHAT they do or what they achieve. A simple example would be giving praise for artistic endeavors. We often revert to saying things like, “That’s such a beautiful drawing!” While it may sound positive, these compliments can be made even more powerful by being specific. You can instead say “I love how you used different colors on this drawing. It really makes the art shine.”

Need some more help in framing your compliments or praise? Here are ten powerful phrases that you can use to encourage your child – feel free to personalize or modify them as needed!

1. I saw how you worked really hard on this. I really appreciate the effort you’ve put in. This tells children that working hard is important, and sometimes more valuable than the outcome. Of course, we want our kids to do well and succeed, but we need to instill in them the value of hard work before rewarding them for achievements.
2. These are very creative ideas. OR You’ve come up with a lovely solution. This encourages problem-solving and creativity. It makes your child realize that they can try to come up with solutions when they encounter roadblocks.
3. You had amazing focus when you were working on this project. Again, the emphasis here is on HOW they worked, and not what they’ve done.
4. That’s very thoughtful of you. OR Thank you for thinking of your sister. Acknowledging thoughtful behavior helps encourage it. Be quick to recognize when your child has done something caring or thoughtful, so they’ll know how valuable it is.
5. You gave very good advice to your friend. For pre-teens or teenagers, affirmation in terms of judgment or advice is very meaningful. This is a stage in their life when they are figuring out who they are and what they value. Affirming that they’ve seen things through the right lens helps reinforce the values you want them to have.

6. I like how you included your new friends in the game. That was very kind of you. Citing examples of kindness leads children to realize what kindness looks like, and how they can show it to others. Showing appreciation for kindness that was extended to others encourages them to be kind in general.
7. Not giving up and persevering through challenges are your best traits. This compliment can be modified to fit your child. Tell them exactly what you think their strengths are, so they can recognize these and develop them further.
8. Thank you for saying that. It means so much to me. Simple thank yous go a long way in showing appreciation and extending a compliment. Acknowledging how important something is to you shows your children that what they say and do matter.
9. You are so generous. OR That was very selfless of you. Generosity and selflessness are traits that we want to encourage and affirm. When your child does something that shows generosity or selflessness, be sure to recognize them.
10. Thank you for being such a great helper. You helped us finish this quickly. When you show how you appreciate their help and how they contributed to the process, kids go away feeling good about themselves. They feel like they are part of your success – and they should be!

One last note – when praising your children, you also don’t want to overdo it and keep praising them for every little thing. Praise becomes meaningless if they hear it all the time. So make sure to praise them for things that are really worthwhile, so that the impression lasts. Doing so would help your child develop strong character and good behavior for the long run.

In the communities where World Vision serves, we are filled with pride to see the children we support reach a milestone and make a step closer into reaching their dreams.
But there are still thousands of children who do not get to experience going to school. With your help, we can reach our goal to bring more children access to this one basic right – education.
Join us as we look forward to the next school year when more children will get a chance to go to school, learn with their classmates and celebrate milestones!
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